20.11.08

Feeling nostalgic...

Scrooge Mcduck And Money Disney cartoon short Part 1

Scrooge Mcduck And Money Disney cartoon short Part 2

It is truly a shame that media companies have never put out anything remotely educational like this for years. The sooner that kids learn how to handle money wisely, the less inclinations they will have to spend with reckless abandon. Instead, they learn useless stuff like "self-esteem" (wow, I didn't know I could only gain respect for myself through someone else telling me so!) or how everyone is all the same. All this watered-down namby-pamby utopian drivel is turning our kids into whiny, spineless wastes of carbon who are more concerned with not making others feel bad or how many minorities and handicapped people are in their group.

The biggest problem I see with the middle class is that everyone is obsessed with either spending or saving. How many of them are paying attention to mutual funds? How many of them do something as simple as looking at the stock tickers for the NASDAQ or the DJIA or the S&P 500 while they check the news or their email?

The recent financial upsets on the personal level are not because the economy's going to hell in a handbasket (a recession is defined as 2 consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE growth, and the last time I checked our economy still has POSITIVE growth - morons!), but rather that people are spending way outside their means. This is not necessarily something to pin on 'evil, predatory loan sharks', but simply a lack of self-control on the part of the middle class and poor. Sure, lots of people are "rich", with lots of cool stuff filling their junky and more-or-less-useless SUVs each time they come back from the mall. They present a glamorous front, but that glamour is purchased with borrowed money that they may not be able to repay if they keep buying and borrowing time and time again.

Again, this is a problem of individual self-control, not something to be pinned on media execs and corporate marketing divisions. I have noticed that increasing numbers of parents refuse to say 'no' to their children. As infrequently as I visit shopping malls (my social claustrophobia and avoidance complex has kept me away from what probably has been a wealth of study opportunities), I have seen this trend.

To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Detective John Kimball, in Kindergarten Cop: "You lack discipline!" Kids run around screaming in stores, talk back to their parents, and generally behave like little savages. Parents are not supposed to be your friend. Friends won't give you a well-deserved and sharp smack on the behind when you're out of line. Parents are supposed to teach good behavior to their children, not mollycoddle them and leave them unprepared to face a world that is, to wax Hobbesian, nasty and brutish at times.

When parents do not set limits for their children, this creates an expectation that often stays with them for a long time. We can see this with the 'Generation ME', with the people in their late 20s/early 30s who expected the ability to own a brand new car along with a high five-figure income right out of college. These are also the kinds of people who spend their money on superficial accessories for their cars, cheaply-made designer knockoff clothes, wear UGG boots, listen to Coldplay, and drink Bud Light, because nothing says "I'm classy" like mass-produced domestic piss-water.

These kinds of people do not spend within their means. They likely have more than three credit cards, have no money invested, and perhaps enough money saved to last them a month or two if they found themselves without a job.

There is also a big difference between being "rich" and being "wealthy". The former implies that someone either has lots of disposable income, lots of expensive stuff, or both. Wealth is gauged by the kind of financial capital that one has available, usually in the form of a business, property (houses/land, classic cars, and other things that appreciate in value). It also denotes that one has money invested in lieu of letting it essentially lay stagnant in savings.

If I had to explain investing to someone with no economic knowledge, I would put it this way:

Investing is more like spending than saving. You want to watch for good deals, and take a shrewd risk. The money you invest is no longer part of your disposable income for the time being, but it is being injected into the economy - also like spending moreso than saving. The best part is that the money you invested will grow, and you will have more than what you started with because the company or companies used the investments of people just like you to expand their production, conduct research, and become more profitable - if you made a good decision regarding which company or companies to invest in.

You're probably thinking, "who has time for all of this research and reading, Mr. Viking?"

I say to that "TURN OFF YOUR DAMN TELEVISION AND STOP DOING USELESS THINGS LIKE THAT." The Internet has made investing so much easier. You don't have to deal with a living, breathing stockbroker anymore. Companies like Scottrade and Ameritrade allow people all over the world to invest money and keep tabs on their stocks from nearly any computer with an Internet connection. Technology is a huge advantage that humans have, but we need to learn how to utilize it wisely.

Spend less.
Keep up with your savings.
Invest more.

The economy (and your wallet!) will thank you.

2 comments:

Terence said...

Good advice MV. I hope that many will listen to what you have to say about savings & investments. Who taught you so many smart things........?

trauma_faeri said...

To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Detective John Kimball, in Kindergarten Cop: "You lack discipline!" Kids run around screaming in stores, talk back to their parents, and generally behave like little savages. Parents are not supposed to be your friend. Friends won't give you a well-deserved and sharp smack on the behind when you're out of line. Parents are supposed to teach good behavior to their children, not mollycoddle them and leave them unprepared to face a world that is, to wax Hobbesian, nasty and brutish at times.

I agree wholeheartedly. As a parent, though not being one myself, it is your job to see that your child gets taught the necessary basics. Not the school, not the government, not the nanny or whatever. Give them hiding when they deserve it. That's all there is to it.