Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where does the money go?

I swear, if I see another one of these articles about "Money you waste on stuff" I'm going to drive to the author's home and smack him in the back of the head. Here's the latest one, from Kiplinger's which, if you read it, you probably don't care about how much money you waste, because you have enough to not care about how much money you waste. If you can follow their advice, you probably earn enough money to ignore it altogether.
These are among their concerns:
Letting your money wallow in a checking account, when it could be making big bucks in a high-interest savings account. Sure. My paycheck is wasting away in that checking account, until the creditors call and wonder where it is.
Paying up-front fees for mutual funds. Uh-huh. I have so many mutual funds, I'm picking the scraps out of my ass.
Here's one: Dust off your library card and check out books, music and movies for free (or dirt-cheap). Sure. I'm dying to see "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and go to work tomorrow and chat-up my co-workers, who just saw "G-Force" or "Orphan." I'm interesting - and irrelevant. Which world are they living in?
Paying too much taxes on investments. Right. I'd care about that if I had any investments that were making enough money that I had to worry about taxes.
Owning an extra car. Extra? I can't tell you the number of times I've looked in my 8-car garage and thought, "Fuck - I have to get rid of these 7 useless vehicles." I own two bicycles. No bike insurance.
The one that killed me was where they said "Being complacent about insurance," and that "it pays to evaluate your insurance needs." I've evaluated mine, and I've determined that insurance is a giant money pit. My ex took out a policy and named her sister as the beneficiary (while we were married). My feeling about life insurance is that, after I'm dead, I won't give a fuck how you pay for my disposal or where I wind up. Throw me in the dumpster. That saves everybody a lot of money. Put that on the list.
Then, they started in on the "Paying Uncle Sam an Interest-free loan" where you get a big refund on your taxes. Here's some news: You're going to pay Uncle Sam interest on a tax bill you can't pay, so maybe paying him (it) to take money every week is a decent enough deal to not worry about it. Consider whether you'd like a $1,500 overpayment in April or a $1,500 bill. You'll pay interest on the unpaid portion, but get the $1,500 back in a check. You make the call. The tax laws are so complicated that, if you can figure out your year-end bill a year ahead of time, you qualify for a Nobel Prize. There's another item for the list: Fix the tax laws.
Some of them were actually useful, like the one that wondered about your "unhealthy habits."
I was behind a guy in the liquor store (stop - that's a necessity) yesterday, and he asked for a pack of cigarettes. "Seven ninety-five," came back the response from the clerk. Eight bucks to smoke? Jeebus, this stuff has to be harder to shake than crack. If I was on an eight-buck a day habit that didn't get me stoned, drunk or laid; I'd have to take a look at the finances.
Mostly, those articles agonize over stuff like eating out and spending money on going to movies when you could be watching them at home. After I read them, I figure that the best way to save money is to bunker-up at home, stop the newspaper delivery, switch to rabbit ears and eat all your food from government subsidized programs. Then, you'll have enough money to pay your property taxes, car insurance, auto loan, utility bills and all of the things that really eat-up your money, for which, like the prison colony at French Guiana, there is no escape.
Lastly, they wondered "Are you taking full advantage of your subscriptions (such as Netflix, TiVo or magazines)?" You mean, like Kiplinger's? No.
The things they tell us to stop doing are "pleasure" items, and the sort of things that make paying the property taxes and utility bills worthwhile, as though we're supposed to be happy eating out of plastic containers and living like squirrels.
News flash: LIFE IS FUCKING EXPENSIVE. Read about it. For free.

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