[Pseudo-legal disclaimer: This blog post is being written under the simultaneous influence of a strong cup of coffee and a glass of pinot noir. The financial advice it contains should be considered questionable, at best, unless you are under the influence of a more powerful psycho-active substance. Then likely it'll make as much sense to you as it does to me.]
I just came up with a great financial recovery plan for the United States. Even more, the world!
People need to realize that if they spend their money themselves, they can beat the stock and housing markets to the punch. Meaning, if anybody is going to make our money disappear, it should be you and me.
We need to take control of our own financial meltdown. Don't let distant markets and shadowy traders reduce your net worth to a fraction of what it used to be.
You can do it yourself! Get empowered!
This marvelous economic insight came to me this afternoon as I was leaning against the doorway of our downstairs bathroom, listening to my wife and Darren Gollakner (a talented guy who makes cool stuff) discuss remodeling plans.
Since we'd already remodeled our upstairs bathroom, which I mostly use, I felt detached from the conversation. It didn't matter much to me what they came up with.
But being the Hines household's payer of bills and prime overseer of our steadily shrinking retirement portfolio, my inner cash register was paying attention to the cost of the remodeling project that was being hatched before my otherwise mostly uncaring eyes.
Then I heard myself blurting out to Darren, "We've decided to give our money to you before the stock market can take it."
Laurel and Darren looked at me quizzically and went back to their plan-hatching.
However, as so often happens to me (this is why I'm a blogger), I was immediately struck by the brilliance of the fleeting thought that had darted through my mind.
Now, the more I thought about it -- on a subsequent dog walk -- the more logical holes I could identify in my one-sentence economic recovery plan. So naturally I've decided to ignore those holes and focus on my intuitive, though possibly illusory, sense of genius.
Economists and legislators are worried sick that people have stopped their spending ways. Americans are afraid to buy stuff when they see home values, stock prices, and jobs disappearing.
Well, they need to ponder (not too much, and preferably after consuming a stiff drink) my profound advice: Get rid of your money on your own, before something else takes it.
Look, if you've already spent your money on stuff you want, you can't lose it. It's already gone! You've got no worries!
(Also, no money, but let's not worry about that for the moment; have another drink and this blog post will make more sense to you.)
Plus, you've got the stuff, like a remodeled bathroom, that the money you no longer have brought you.
So your preemptive strike against an additional financial downturn -- spend it before you lose it -- has succeeded on two fronts: (1) You've inoculated yourself against a decline in your net worth by reducing it on your own, and (2) You've bought stuff that you can enjoy while eating rice and beans and waiting for your house to be foreclosed.
What's the downside?
(Again, please focus on the big picture here, which will be clear if you don't think too much about extraneous economic details, such as your personal bankruptcy.)
Well, I'm pleased that I've been able to do my part in getting our country back on track. If President-elect Obama's financial recovery team wants to use my ideas, they're most welcome.
All I ask is that the strategy be called the Brian Hines Spend It Before You Lose It And Make America Prosperous Again Plan (wordy, but I'm open to edits so long as the "Brian Hines" part stays).