Tuesday, August 31, 1999

A Foolish Head Start

By Jeffery Lindenmuth (

When I began working and putting money into a 401(k) at the age of 20, it was merely to appease my father. I really had no idea what the purpose was, and retirement seemed as far away as, well, the year 2000. Now at the age of 28 I realize how Foolish I was to make these weekly paycheck sacrifices that I personally would have preferred to spend on CDs and Yeungling beer. I'm also left with a generous head start on most of my peers.

You might say I was born a Fool. And, my experience with this website has only exacerbated the condition. Unlike most of my friends, I carry no credit card debt and have now paid off my modest student loan to a state university -- the ultimate in educational bargain hunting. My car is 10 years old and I'll drive it for the life of the thing, but I do indulge in a BMW motorcycle; Fools aren't totally practical after all.

I easily allocated the majority of my various 401(k) plans in index funds using the online sites and I now tinker with Rule Breaker stocks in my personal portfolio. I still have some time, and besides I rather enjoy the roller-coaster ride.

As I approach the decision to purchase a home, the Fool is again prepared with advice on the importance of this major investment. I really, really cringe at the thought of taking on debt. In fact, the mortgage lender that pre-approved me is likely still trying to find some unrevealed debt. I plan to purchase only with the same long-term outlook that should be used in all investing, looking to areas with the most emerging opportunity and using all the maxims the Fool provides.

And what of the girl to share this home? Obviously she's unimpressed with my car. But I can spend some time in the gym when other guys are fretting over where the DOW closed. Also, we won't live extravagantly now, but there will be plenty of time for that when we retire, hopefully young enough to enjoy it. If only I could convince her that diamonds are a foolish (lower case "f") investment.

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