Who Needs A 401(k)? Not Me!


“Yep, that looks about right. We’ve lost half our net worth in the last three years. Time to switch to Plan B, or C. One of those. . . . “

 I’ll be the first one to admit I’m no financial genius.  I’m not a multi-millionaire, though I think I could handle the pressure.  Still, hope springs eternal in this household, and we religiously play MegaMillions.  I’m not sure about the odds for winning at our measly investment level, but I know you can’t win if you don’t play. 

So we play; I mean invest; I mean waste our spare cash on lottery tickets. 

I’m also sure we spend more on foo-foo coffee annually than we do on lotto, but I’m not sure how significant either statistic might be.  Neither one would reflect very positively, I’m sure, with most financial advisors.   

Still . . . to give you an idea of the great financial moves I’ve made over the last five years:  I did not buy any Ford stock when it was trading at $1.50 a share, though I meant to for days and days on end.  I didn’t completely miss that F wave in the end, but I caught it very near the shoreline when it wasn’t much of a wave anymore anyway.  I also did not buy Facebook when it was trading at $18 or $19 a share several months ago, even though it seems everyone I know (I literally mean everyone) spends the greater portion of their waking lives using the site (except for me, of course). 

I can go on at great length, not so much about the money I’ve lost (or, rather, haven’t made), but about being prescient enough to recognize when to jump into the “Next Big Thing.” For me, the Next Big Thing usually translates into a swollen body part (mainly ankle-related), that then deteriorates into a debate about why I continue to play basketball at my age. 

Some folks (spouses) just don’t get it, I suppose. 

I am somewhat excited that Daughter possesses a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, but I fear her FaceHelmet (tm) represents misdirected zeal on her part.  On my end, I continually misremember her invention as HeadHelmet or FaceTent (sounds better anyway), but I don’t think Daughter will be making an appearance on Shark Tank any time soon. 

Come on, Daughter, you can come up with something better!  Keep working it.

My greatest money-making idea has been the t-shirt, “I Love Soccer Moms” ™.  Unfortunately, it has a very, very limited audience, and half the potential buying public (Soccer Dads) aren’t necessarily enamored with the idea, especially when the garment is worn by other men. 

Oh, well.  I do have an Ace in the Investment Hole:  DandyDog.

On those rare occasions when I am a solo visitor at our local foo-foo coffee establishment, I sometimes bring Dandy with me out of some sense of pity for him.  You see, I only contemplate him as a semi-willing companion if his Goddess-Mother is not at home, for some reason.  Perhaps he thinks by jumping in the car with me, Mom might be waiting on the other end.  I cannot imagine the kind of Dog Thoughts that permeate his brain, but I’m fairly sure that is one of them in this particular scenario. 

The real magic only begins to happen, however, when we sit outside together on the foo-foo coffee patio.  It turns out that DandyDog is a veritable Babe Magnet Soccer Mom Magnet People Magnet. 

“Oh, can I pet your dog?  He’s so sweet.”

“Oh, he’s so soft.”

“Oh, he looks so sad.”

To which I reply, “He misses his Mom since she passed away she’s at school today.” 

Son has accompanied the broader family on a few of these foo-f00 coffee outings.  His observation:  “So this is what happens in middle-class suburbia on the weekends?  Pretty sad,” as he takes another hit on his $4.50 latte that I just bought for him.

I figure my Plan G or K, or whatever, for the future should I ever be alone (sniff, sniff), will be to sit outside of the local foo-foo caffeine place with Dandy, and watch the potential high-rollers file in.  Hanging there with him is probably better than eHarmony.com and OurTime.com combined, as well as any potential return on MegaMillions ticket purchases and whatever minimal balance I have in my 401(k) by then. 

Then, again, after Mom reads this, my days of coffee visits with Dandy might well be over for good.

Back to the investment drawing board, I guess. 

– Dad


“Do I look sad? I feel sad, and I don’t like being used as a tool. Where’s Mom?”




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