Watching your 401k shrink to half its size (by the way, does that make it a 200.5k?) is depressing enough. Down 635 points one day, up 430 the next, what's a guy to do with his dough?
Gold soars to $1,750 an ounce. Silver is through the roof. Powerball climbs to $220 million. And the wife is getting estimates on a kitchen makeover ...
All these numbers are swirling in my head. Where's John Fallis when you need to do the math?
It was all too much to deal with, so I plop into the Big Comfy Chair and turn on The History Channel.
On "Pawn Stars," some guy is trying to sell his wife's old 1970 Chevy Impala. He wanted $20,000. Big Hoss wanted to give him $5,000. Then $4,000. So, no deal.
All that did was make me nostalgic for my first car. After all, you never forget your first. It was a 1966 Ford Mustang. Desert rose in color with a tan interior. God, I loved that car. Bought it with less than 20,000 miles on it for $1,650.
If I had kept it, it would probably be worth 20 times that today. Story of my life ...
Just like my Schwinn Stingray bicycle. To a Chicago kid, riding a Schwinn was like owning a Cadillac.
Now "American Pickers" is on the TV, and Mike and Frank are digging through a nasty, dirty old shed and discovering a bike like the one I had. Big banana seat. Ape-hanger handlebars. Heady stuff back in the day, especially when the day was in the '60s.
Theirs was rusty (excellent patina, they love to call it), yet they paid about $1,500 for it.
I traded a whole shoebox full of old baseball cards for my blue Schwinn back then. What a great investment either would have been had I kept one or the other. The bike alone is worth $2,500 or more today, while the cards I traded probably made it the Lou Brock-for-Ernie Broglio equivalent of kid trades.
Don't even remember what happened to that bike. Mom probably sold it for $5 in a yard sale.
This kind of luck has always run in my family. My grandfather had a lucrative painting and wallpapering business before it was wiped out in The Depression. After that, he didn't hide money in his mattress, but he did create a little hiding place for cash behind a full-length mirror attached to his bedroom wall.
If I had any extra cash and a full-length mirror, that might be a better idea than a 401k these days.
How now, Dow Jones, am I going to recover these losses?
Baseball cards? Nope, that ship has sailed years ago. Should have sold what cards I have left about 10 years back. Talk about striking out ...
Antiques? Since I don't own much of anything older than myself, that won't be of much help.
Gold? I think I have some in my teeth and a little on my fingers. Won't be living off that in the Golden Years.
So that leaves me one choice today.
About the safest bet we all have left, I'd say -- that's right, Powerball tickets.
Don't laugh, at least that gives me another day to dream.
And by then, my 401k will probably be worth about $401.