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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Hide the gold, bury the silver

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

(Photo)
Darn you, Dow Jones.

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.