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By yttire
June 14, 2005

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Ten dollars here.

Ten dollars there.

Saved $35.00 canceling standard cable.

Saved up $10,000, which sits in the market, sloshing. It is more money than I ever had before, and it can be watched through tickers, through web pages, through portfolio updates, if I check my mail. It is everywhere in my consciousness.

Now it is $100,000. Careful saving over years, some default mutual funds. I look at my statement and my heart beats faster, I have responsibility for a new life it feels like. But it is just money, and was never really alive.

$200,000.

I become disconnected from the money, it is just a number, reported to me, too small to retire on, too big to ignore, now I can fear losing it in a way I could never before. Who knew that you could be afraid of losing something, which you never really had? I knew.

$400,000

I watch the money it moves up and down like a heartbeat, and I calculate risk closely, exactly, out to hundreds of decimal points, my future wrapped up in some money. But I know it is all based on unknowns, on other people, other people's innovations, struggles, empires rise and fall and I am investing in them, watching their currencies and dumbfounded.

$600,000

It seems almost big enough to retire on. A life savings. Carefully spread out among a number of stocks, they all start tanking, it is bringing me down, back to $300,000, I can't believe it, years of effort vanishing as I watch. Whose advice did I take on these stocks anyway?

$500,000 another eight years later, back to $500,000. It seems unreal, like I am playing tug of war with someone invisible, with a million people, we are all tugging. Trading time for money. Am I working at my job? If I make a 10% yield it is more than I take home from my job. So I tug harder.

$600,000, back to where I was before, now ten years later again, I am wiser and more diversified. Spreading my assets out. Reaching out for diversification of risk, I no longer trust myself and hire an advisor.

They bet it all on JDSU and it crashes as the company finally goes bankrupt. I pull it all out right before it is gone.

Back to $3,500.

What type of game is this anyway? I am saving up, and will have $10,000 in three months.


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