Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Easy Money

I got three more in the mail today! Boy! If I would just cash these things in I would be a millionaire! I’m sure you get them too. Those official looking window envelopes with “Pay to the Order of …” in the window that compels you to open. Simply sign the back and deposit for easy money to use on anything you wish. It’s tax deductible since it is attached to your home as another low-interest mortgage. I am sure you, like me, run right to the bank when we get them.

Also in my mail is a few blank checks attached to my credit card statement. Already having my name on them all I have to do is write whatever I want in “Pay to the Order of …” blank and send it off, or cash it. Nice.

I remember a time when I couldn’t get credit even if it was already biting my backside. Try to get a rental car without a credit card, or reserve a hotel. Now I could get 3-4 cards a week plus add a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and even a 5th mortgage onto my home. Easy money!

It used to be the junk mail was full of “You may have already won …!” or “Call now for one of five prizes you’ve already won!” My wife and I got a nice set of luggage from one of those once. (Hint: take young kids along with you, let them run wild and your time will be cut REAL short.) Now our junk mail is full of blank checks promising easy money and low interest.

I don’t know if it is because my wife and I are “approaching” middle age and a relatively stable income or whether scams have just changed their tack. And now you HAVE to shred all these blank checks to make sure that no one else takes advantage of these “great” offers. Easy money.

As I have now passed through that time of high interest debt that it seems we all have to experience at least once, I realize that easy money really isn’t that easy. There is no replacement for hard money. Money that it took time and energy to accumulate. Money that is a result of schooling, expertise, and a dedicated amount of time. Easy money breeds accounting incompetence.

My best investment advice is this … buy a paper shredder. You’ll be amazed at the dividends.

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