We just got over hearing about rich people, poor people, taxes and jobs. All this talk and not a thing decided. People are acting like rich people are causing everything that is wrong with the country. People are ashamed to have money. What’s wrong with money? Money can buy lots of heat in the winter and cool in the summer. Money can buy education, medicine, food and all sorts of good things. Money can even buy cigarettes and liquor. It can get almost anything.
I know, you don’t think that money can buy fun. Once you get a yacht, a limousine, and a private jet, the fun will start looking for you! Sometimes money can really worry us. I have a friend that always figures out what he should have done forty years to late. “If I had bought two thousand dollars worth of brand X stock in nineteen sixty, it would be worth twenty million dollars today.” The pain of regret is just about as bad as the pain of discipline. “Why didn’t you try to buy the stock?” “I only made twenty-five dollars a week.” You can put any number in there and figure out what you did wrong so many years ago. “Don’t worry, you would have sold the stock way before it hit the twenty million.”
It’s too bad that we have to have millions to enjoy ourselves. It’s really bad that having millions makes us feel so guilty. If you feel bad for not investing earlier, maybe you should just feel bad that you didn’t live in nineteen hundred.
One man made thirty thousand dollars in one year. He had a nice house. He had a nice family. The best part was he had a bunch of people that kept his nice house. In Nineteen Hundred you could have a live in nursemaid that would tend to all the needs of your children twenty-four hours a day. The nursemaid lived in your house and did all that work for one hundred and fifty-five dollars per year. You notice I said per year. The housekeeper would work all the time for one hundred fifty dollars per year. The housekeeper would do lots of cleaning but would not do any laundry. The laundress would wash and iron all the clothes for one hundred fifty dollars per year. The cook would shop, prepare and help serve the meals for two hundred forty dollars per year. The door and table man would answer the door, bring in firewood, serve at the table, act as a butler and do various other tasks for three hundred sixty dollars a year. The highest paid servant was the coachman. He had to tend to the horses, drive the carriage and saddle up the horses if the people wanted to ride by themselves. He got six hundred dollars a year and his own special apartment in the stables. All this for sixteen hundred and fifty–five dollars a year; there was no income tax either.
On Sunday afternoons the man would dress in a three-piece suit and sit on the front porch and tell tales to his visitors. His servants would bring the lemonade or toddies or afternoon tea. The visitors would hear the stories and the king’s rich laugh. Who wouldn’t laugh with a house full of servants and still over twenty five thousand dollars in the bank?
Of course we have to put those numbers in perspective for inflation, tax rates and capital gains now. Today we have stuff eating into all the good money. Cable bills, cellular telephones and Internet providers eat up a lot of money. It’s too bad. I think if we went back to visiting our friends all dressed up and not have to worry about preparing refreshment; life would be great.
I’ve made some mistakes about investing too. About thirty years ago, I should have made an investment and I didn’t. It hasn’t bothered me too much. Had I done it, I might have not made enough money to get all the things that would make me miserable. If I had made that money, I could get a private jet and I’m sure the fun would come looking for me and I would have a king’s rich laugh.