Everyone is looking for brilliant economic insight and commentary these days, trying to find any tidbit of wisdom that may help them survive and even thrive in these challenging times. Good luck with that! What follows is not likely to help your bank account or your balance sheet, but it may give you a laugh. Here is corporate comedian Harry Freedman‘s advice on how to manage your finances in today’s market:
The automakers fly to Washington in private jets. The 350 billion dollar bank bailout has vanished from sight faster then Siegfried and Roy. And my kid still wants an Ipod for Hanukkah.
So what do we do? Well, before you jump off a tall building, or a bridge to nowhere, let’s consider the worst. A lot of people are probably going to lose their jobs, and some of them may become so desperate, they turn to crime. Ironically, that actually helps matters. Because the crime victims then have to replace their stolen valuables and their purchases stimulate the economy, which creates more jobs, etc, etc, which means, the worse things get now, the better off it will actually be later.
So, now that you’ve calmed down, let’s talk about how to stay afloat. First, make sure, whatever small amount is left of your investments are properly allocated. Most experts recommend a diversified portfolio that includes stocks, mutual funds, precious metals, and fear.
There are many schools of thought about what makes a good investment. For some, it’s securities, for some it’s bonds, and for practitioners of The Secret, it’s the belief that if you send money out into the world, it will come back fully grow, which unfortunately, seems to have only worked for the actual author of The Secret.
Next, invest by using income averaging. This is the system whereby you contribute a regular amount of your income every week, so you only lose a little bit at a time, rather then watch everything plunge into a financial black hole simultaneously.
The most important thing to do, is never, ever, under any circumstances, take advice from Suzy Orman, who’s main theory, is that if you stop drinking Starbucks coffee, and invest it at 10% interest, you’d have 200 billion dollars by the time you’re 35. I have 2 problems with that. First, I don’t trust anybody who doesn’t drink coffee, and second, who the heck gets 10% interest?
If you really want to save money, a cup of coffee is miniscule compared to the amount you can save by simply cheating on your taxes. Now, I know it’s illegal and all, but even if you get audited, it’s easy to avoid penalties by keeping your records properly. Notice, I didn’t say keeping your records neat. I said keeping them properly. Because, while most accountants recommend that you maintain your statements in an organized manner, it actually makes it too easy for the IRS to hang you. In contrast, if you keep all your receipts properly, in a large smelly box filled with thousands of old gum wrappers, dirty Q-tips, oily rags, used tissues, dental floss, and other unsanitary remnants of your disgusting existence on this planet, even the most diligent agent will weary of trying to sort through a mound of personal contents that belong in a toxic landfill.
Harry Freedman has performed corporate comedy put-ons and emceed for hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies, some of which have since gone under, including Arthur Anderson, Anderson consulting, Anderson Cooper, and pretty much the entire Anderson family. To learn more about Harry, watch some funny video clips, and see if he may be a fit for some of your future programs, visit his web site at http://harryfreedman.net/.