(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Money, Memory, and Muchness

Posted on: Aug. 21, 2012  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: Advice, General

A Key to the Financial Planning Lock:  “Off With Your Head!”


Alice thought to herself, “Then there’s no use in speaking.”  The voices didn’t join in this time, as she hadn’t spoken, but to her great surprise they all thought in chorus (I hope you understand what thinking in chorus means-for I must confess that I don’t), “Better say nothing at all.  Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!”

“I shall dream about a thousand pounds tonight, I know I shall!” thought Alice.

Through The Looking Glass And What Alice Found There-Chapter III Looking-Glass Insects


Alice did not wish to offend the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously: `But I don’t understand. Where did they draw the treacle from?’

`You can draw water out of a water-well,’ said the Hatter; `so I should think you could draw treacle out of a treacle-well–eh, stupid?’

`But they were in the well,’ Alice said to the Dormouse, not choosing to notice this last remark.

`Of course they were’, said the Dormouse; `–well in.’

This answer so confused poor Alice, that she let the Dormouse go on for some time without interrupting it.

`They were learning to draw,’ the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; `and they drew all manner of things–everything that begins with an M–‘

`Why with an M?’ said Alice.

`Why not?’ said the March Hare.

Alice was silent.

The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze; but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and went on: `–that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness– you know you say things are “much of a muchness”–did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?’

Alice In Wonderland – Chapter VII A Mad Tea Party


Illustration by John Tenneil


[Now here now is The Boodleworld version when Lewis Carroll’s characters speak by way of financial nonsense…]


“Why are these thousand pounds covered in treacle?” asked the March Hare.

“You never ask why the Dormouse’s head is stuck in a teapot?”  said the Mad Hatter with a deep sigh.

“Because we put him there, you dodo.   I should think I shouldn’t have to ask after doing something with my own two feet,”  the Hare ventured to say.

“I think that the Dormouse, since sleeping most of the time, has no need for the thousand pounds and then doesn’t mind that the treacle has covered them up so,” further figured the March Hare.

“People work their whole life to earn the words they remember.  The Dormouse has no need for words or pounds since he only lacks for a place to sleep and now a way to pour himself out of that pot,” said the Gryphon who has just woken up also.

“She doesn’t need pounds either, said the Mad Hatter pointing nowhere in particular.

“Who?” said the March Hare and the Gryphon together.

“Why, she, Alice, “ stated the Mad Hatter.

“Alice has no need for work as she only dreams of pounds,” continued the March Hare.

“That is because she has forgotten about the Dormouse’s story of the three girls who lived on treacle and drew stories beginning with M.” said the Mad Hatter indignantly.

“The Dormouse should be especially careful of that mousetrap while wearing that teapot.  It is such as the picture of the Mousetrap showing those little insects who think they have money security since they are wrapped up in pound notes,” explained the March Hare.

“It’s time for a retirement tea party,” shouted the Gryphon while beating a wing.

“I don’t remember saying that, said the March Hare.

“You said nothing at all and I haven’t said it before.  I just said it.” Clarified the Gryphon.

“If I don’t remember it, then it never happened,” insisted the March Hare.

Just then Alice happened by and pretended to speak to an insect for all to hear.  “Pounds are made of words and language is worth a thousand pounds a word.”

“I suppose you don’t remember saying that either” said the Gryphon to the March Hare.

The Cheshire Cat’s smile appeared and said “The Jabberwocky put all his pounds into ‘O frabjous Day! Callooh Callay!’  Beware, though.  The Jabberwock forgot “money” which is the last M of the Dormouse’s three girl story.  However, if you live without muchness than you find yourself locked away in the Looking Glass House.

Alice in Boodleland –  A Head Feeding Frenzy



On July 19th, 2012 The New York Times published an article titled “Los Angeles? The Valley is Way Cooler.”  This is my neck of the desert so Valley folk are keenly aware that cooler, in this context, does not refer to The Valley’s temperature which can easily be ten to twenty degrees hotter than the City over the hill.  I have spent the last twenty years in the valley only to hear countless times just how boring and unhip The Valley is, which the article reminds us about.  To author David McAninch’s credit, he contrasts the city’s attributes where people “strive and achieve” with that of The Valley’s as an existential entity where people “put down roots and live.”

For each of my clients, who look for help with a financial plan, the drawing of their own lives begin with a slightly altered version of the three little sisters story in Alice that lived at the bottom of a well and painted pictures of everything that begins with an M.  Their drawings come from a place of mouse-traps, and MONEY, and memory, and muchness.  The Queen is in charge of the planning department.

Treacle is a sugary substance and the mousetrap that lures clients in when it comes to money is a looking-glass reflection of memory.  These are the city’s inhabitants that strive and achieve.  When they look to their goals and how money fits into their lives they use the memory of words to create their financial world.  They go about setting up their financial plan as if it were a vacation where they are snapping hundreds of photographs.  They want wonderful memories and a story they can build and tell.  The mouse-trap part is that they are so busy trying to make memories they aren’t actually experiencing them.  In other words, their financial plan is not taking into account The Valley folks practice of just living life as it is.

Money is the grand cultural narrative of life as we know it.  We build money into the story that spins us into who think we are and who we think we want to be.  The Queen in all of us makes our plans by going down the rabbit hole of memory.  With memory, we make the story and then live the life that matches it rather than living life first.  We drink from the bottle that either makes us big one time and then small the next.  The words conjure up an association that drives the story like the Mock Turtle’s history that he used to be a real turtle and where, in language, Alice (and probably to Turtle too) is confounded since she can’t tell when the Mock Turtle uses “school” in relation to fish or uses the word in relation to learning.  Financial plans are charged with words such as “safety,” “legacy” and “future.”

If you take the color out of the Queen and drop that memory perspective, what you are left with is “muchness.”  Here is what the story is not:  it is not sugary treacle but down and dirty direct experience.  You try to set-up your life as a story of words but it is not in effect remembering, a re-memory if you will.  It is not drawing a picture, starting with M or not, to be enjoyed at a later time.  It may sound trite but we all speak to being in the “now” but are too busy thinking about it than being absorbed by it all.  It is not fitting our world into our story but being open to an unfolding world.  Try not to guide your financial plan by what you remember is the life you want, such as avoiding pain or fear.  If you are the tyrannical queen, you make decisions from the likes and dislikes of your memory while ignoring that the muchness of life is the music of our own experience.  We make financial plan’s gearing up for future representative moments, snapshots we hope to remember, but we only find out that “Alice doesn’t live here anymore.”  So have a tea party and introduce yourself to the person who lives your life and not just thinks about it.  That person should be your guide that wants to have a long and enjoyable life of just living rather than a bunch of short exciting memories.  Forget the peaks and live in The Valley.

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