I don’t like leaving money lying around. There’s always the danger it’ll get dusty, stained or wrinkled. Also, my creditors have a tendency to snatch up any cash I haven’t properly secured.
For these reasons, I find it best to spend my income as fast as I receive it. Or even faster. That avoids cluttering up the house with wads of banknotes and strengthens the economy through ridiculously over-optimistic displays of consumer confidence.
I’m doing my part, America. Now, it would be nice if you returned the favor by reducing the tax on beer or something.
One of the best ways to keep your money safe from unscrupulous scallywags – such as banks, credit card companies and Central Maine Power – is to make sure it keeps circulating through the capitalist system at a frenetic pace. In this way, debt collectors will exhaust themselves chasing it around, leaving them too weary to bother you.
Those of you familiar with economics will recognize this process as illustrating the Theory of Wishful Thinking by Hopeless Deadbeats. As the theory’s author, I’m awaiting notification from the Nobel Prize committee that the substantial check that accompanies its annual award is in the mail. Because I’ve already got it spent.
I don’t wish to give the impression that, when it comes to personal finances, I’m utterly and completely irresponsible. There is nothing to that slanderous claim, with the exception of a modicum of truth. But that’s hardly my fault. I’d have a far easier time matching my expenditures with my income if:
A. Things (such as beer) didn’t cost so much, and
B. I got paid more.
Neither of these factors is within my control, so it seems unreasonable to blame me for failing to balance my books.
You may also be under the impression that I make no effort to do any long-term financial planning. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve done a detailed study of my debt-to-income ratio and concluded that by the time my creditors catch on to my schemes, I’ll be dead. Planning doesn’t get more long-term than that.
My finances are also based on a widely accepted theorem, grounded not only in the science of hematology, but also that of geology. Or to put it in layman’s terms: You can’t get blood from a stone.
If, however, you’re too aggressive in your squeezing, you could get rock splinters. Yet another discouragement for the repo men.
In all seriousness (I love to write that, even though I almost never mean it), proper financial management is an important topic for baby boomers, most of whom had assumed that by this point in their self-absorbed, hedonistic lives, they’d be so rich they’d never have to worry about where their next luxury SUV, home mixed-martial-arts arena or lease payment on their paramour’s penthouse condo were coming from. The Great Recession reduced those expectations to a used Toyota Yaris, a subscription to Netflix and free online porn.
On the bright side, retirement planning became a lot easier because most of us will never be able to afford to retire. In fact, we’re forced, in addition to our regular mindless employment (“Welcome to Walmart”) to take menial freelance jobs producing monthly columns on topics we have no knowledge about and no intention of doing any actual research on, and we’re pretty much hoping the editor has dozed off before getting this far so we can fill out the rest of this space with stuff copied verbatim from Wikipedia.
Oh, hello, Jane. I didn’t see you lurking there, blue pencil in hand. Just kidding in that last paragraph.
Well, back to finances. It should be obvious by now that the less we worry about them, the happier we’ll be. Worrying isn’t going to cause money to fall from the skies. It’s just going to raise your blood pressure and reduce your self-esteem (in which case, I’d like to interview you for columns I have due for future issues on heart failure and depression). There’s no sense in paying attention to the phone calls dunning you for not having paid the phone company. That’s a self-correcting problem, once your service is shut off. And if they repossess the Yaris, are you really out anything of value?
As for the overdue beer bill, they’re welcome to the returnable bottles and cans, as well as whatever liquid my liver isn’t interested in keeping.
Al Diamon writes the weekly column Politics & Other Mistakes for several Maine publications. He’s also the media critic for The Bollard magazine and covers the beer beat for Food Etc. magazine. He can be emailed at email@example.com.