Sunday, October 9, 2011

Human nature, greed, entitlements, and crappy ideologies.

That's quite a title I know...  But I encountered a fellow musician about 15 years older than myself  who in my opinion did way too many drugs or really just needs to grow up (or both).  He is so strongly set in his thinking about the corporate greed and the whole system and how flawed and broken it is.

He was both shocked and appalled when I told him I was investing for my future.  He asked snidely "How's that working out for you?" (with strong undertones of expecting epic failure on my part) but when I told him how much I get on yield alone each month he congratulated me (with strong tones of disbelief and sarcastic) about how lucky I was.  I immediately corrected him by saying, it wasn't luck.  I did a lot of research and made careful investment choices which have gotten me to my current level.  At which point the conversation ended.  His entrenched ideology didn't let him even get curious about how I did what I did and it could benefit him and his family too.

He was so wrapped up thinking that the whole pie gets kept by big corporate and a privileged few leaving nothing for anybody else.  His comments about the largeness of said pies and how much is consumed by the "fat cats" let me to suspect that he's either very jealous, or in a messed up entitled sort of way expects money to fall out of the sky to just be evenly distributed amongst the masses.  Judging from his commentary I don't know what sort of investments (if any) this man has.  I also suspected his wacky sense of entitlement led him to believe that he deserved the whole pie just for himself.  Now that's just plain greedy!  I don't want the whole pie.

But what's going on here?  He gave up his corporate position to go back to music, his passion.  But that comes with a cost.  You have to live like me!  I haven't taken a vacation ever...  I don't travel unless it's for work, I've quit drinking on a regular basis because it costs too much, I don't have a big TV, I don't have a fancy car, I don't have a big house with expensive repairs and a costly mortgage, I don't have a fancy stereo, I don't have a new (or even newish) computer.  I don't go out to eat unless I'm working and I have no other choice, all in my quest to save as many dollars as I can to invest for my future.

Now that my monthly yield is starting to become a sizeable portion of my monthly budget I have started re-introducing certain cuts from my life.  Which is a nice treat...  It feels special to splurge $20 on a bottle of wine and really enjoy it with a nice meal that I've made myself.  (My cooking skills have improved immensely over the past couple of years so that I can do a select few restaurant quality dishes)

But back to the point, if you want a future that includes you, your art, and enough money to not have to live in a cardboard box under the free-way then get your head out of the sand and INVEST for your future.  Government debts are running at all time highs, cuts are coming and they will be brutal.  The longer they are put off, the worse things will get for those of us who depend on government funding like so many of my friends in European orchestras.

Now here's the rub people:  if your belief system includes a general hatred for big corporate then I have some bad news for you.  If you don't like subsistence living in a shack out in the middle of the woods then you are going to have a bitter, angry life full of disappointments.  (Unless you're one of the 0.1% of artists who hit super-stardom... Then you'll just be a rich jerk!)

Set your objectives honestly and reasonably.  DON'T GET GREEDY!  Greed is a recipe for disaster.   It's a tendency we have to fight ALL the time while investing.  For example I bought some shares of CLQ @ $0.50 a long time ago.  It went up to $2.25 and I should have sold, but I was holding on hoping for more and more and more.  Guess what happened?  It plunged on some bad news (faulty resource assessments) and fell back to just over where I started.  It's NEVER wrong to take profits.  There may be some choices to make though when you do decide to take some.

My advise for this all:  Invest for your future, nobody else will do it for you.  (Unless you're in a cushy government job... but my friends cuts are coming to government be careful!)  And lastly don't be afraid to take a profit.  Any profit no matter how big or small is a profit and money you didn't have before.  Just don't get greedy and don't beat yourself up for not timing it right.  You had more money then you did before, so shut up.

Disclaimer:  My advice is based on my opinions and experience only.  I have not been paid for anything I've recommended or talked about.  (I'll let you know who's paying me if that ever happens!)  If you do follow my advise, I can not be held accountable for your faulty research.  I have made money and I have lost money.  If you bet the farm on a flyer, it's not my fault.  I didn't recommend it for you.  Your actions are yours and yours alone.  I never pushed that buy/sell button on your behalf.  Plus if you try to sue me, I don't have much money anyway!

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