As the stock market was experiencing its biggest one day drop ever last week, and as many investors watched their portfolios shrivel, I realized two very important things. One, there's nothing sadder than a shriveling portfolio, and two, the stock market could crash like a circus fat lady falling over a lawn chair and it wouldn't affect me in the least. I own no stocks. All my money's tied up in bills. You know, electric bill, phone bill, Visa bill, etc.
I know, I know, I should be investing in long term growth stocks and no load mutual funds and high return commodity contracts. I should be planning for my financial future, saving for a rainy day, gathering nuts for the winter, yada, yada, yada.
The truth is, I gave up trying to save for retirement years ago when I realized it was a lost cause. I'm 37 years old. In order to have enough money to live comfortably by the time I'm 65 I would have to wisely invest $20,000 a year for the next 28 years. Now, I'm not about to divulge my salary (I don't need your pity), but if I had an extra twenty grand a year to invest I don't think I'd be sitting around worrying about retirement. I'd be having too much fun spending all that extra cash!
Maybe I'd take investing a little more seriously if I knew how the stock market really worked. As it is, I don't know my NASDAQ from a hole in the ground. All I know is what I see on the news. You have a crowd of angry men in a trading pit, shouting and cussing, pushing and shoving, gritting their teeth and elbowing each other in the ribs. This reminds me too much of the buffet line at Grandma's funeral. I'm not gonna trust these guys with my money.
I'm not too worried about living out my twilight years in poverty, though, because I do have a plan. There's an ancient Chinese proverb that goes, "Invest in your children and your returns will be many." A beautiful thought, huh. The moment I cracked open that takeout fortune cookie and found those words on the little slip of paper I knew I had struck gold.
Here's the Knox translation: Be nice to your kids when they're young and they'll take care of you when you're old. And don't worry, if being nice to them doesn't work, there's always guilt.
If you're a little hesitant about sponging off your kids, think about this. Statistics show that raising a child from birth to age 18 costs approximately $300,000! And that's just for funny haircuts and Air Jordans. I think a little payback is in order here, don't you?
If it makes you feel any better we'll put a time limit on it. Since we as parents are legally responsible for the little darlings until they are 18 years old, we'll use 18 as the benchmark. Using myself as an example, here's how it would work.
Let's say I retire at age 65. Upon retirement, my kids would become legally responsible for me. They have to clothe me, feed me, give me a nice place to live, pay for expensive piano lessons I'll never take, let me borrow the car whenever I want, and listen without comment when I play my music too loud.
Add 18 years to my 65 and that gets me to age 83. With the life expectancy of the average American, white male being 75, I'll be dead long before they can legally kick me out! A brilliant plan, really, except for the part where I die.
So let those with disposable income throw their money into the stock market. I'll be investing in disposable diapers.
Gotta keep those kids happy, you know. I'm counting on them.
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Tim Knox, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Radio Host
Founder, The Insiders Club, Giving You The Power To Start Your Business Today
Bestselling Author of: "Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama"
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