If money management were a muscle, I would have to equate my investment skills, in strength and coordination, to that muscle you use, like never, to raise your ring finger up straight while making a fist with the rest of your hand.
Yeah, keep trying.
It's not that I can't invest money, or accumulate it in a variety of ways, it's just that I need a goal. Without a concrete goal this money exercise is like doing that finger exercise, and I ask myself what's the point?
The abstract thought that maybe someday I'll need to replace the furnace, repair or replace the car or fix the roof — all that future maybe-stuff is as real to me as daylight saving time. Have you ever seen a bank where all that daylight is stored? And if they're doing such a good job of saving it, why don't they draw down on the savings in the winter when “all day long” equals about four hours.
It's as if I'd be all like, oh, maybe, some day I'll need to hold my ring finger out while making a fist, like if I want to poke somebody's eye out, but I don't want to mess up the manicure on my other fingers or because I'm a serial eye-killer and those ring fingers are the only digits I haven't dealt the coup de gras with, so I'm going to the gym to work out. Y'know, for the sake of my fingers or my serial-killer advancement.
No, there's only two things in this world I'll save money for — even if it's for an abstract hint of a possibility of coming true — horses and horse-related things. Yes, my financial life is governed by this simple thought process: “What's this? A twenty in my wallet? I don't want to break that, I'll just fritter it away, so let's just store that safely in the horse-something money jar, and … hey, hon, can you spot me a couple bucks for the pop machine?”
After a friend and I got a little too hopped up the other day on the idea of importing a rare-breed horse from England — that ought to cost about $20,000 with shipping and handling — I decided that it's time to start investing seriously.
I bought a lottery ticket, and I'm no Rainman math genius, but I think I'm doing pretty good.
I know the lottery is considered a high-risk investment, but with great risk comes great reward when it pays off and, frankly, last weekend I made a 350 percent return on my original investment, which is entirely unheard of in this economy.
After my modest $2 investment, I got back $7, and I'm hot on my way to a new British-speaking horse.
But don't worry, I didn't let the money go to my head. I donated about 14 percent to charity right there in the convenience store.
A former neighbor came up short at the second cash register, so I spotted him $1 for his beer and cigarettes. I haven't abandoned my morals for the almighty dollar altogether.
With that $6 added to my horse savings, I only have to come up with another $19,987.
(Hope is where you make it at email@example.com.)