It's official! I am now a true "golden ager." Not just one of those wannabes getting a senior discount because the twelve-year old clerk thinks they look old enough. As of this month I am 65 or older and living on a fixed income. I have arrived, and it's time to review how the investments of my lifetime are paying off.
The last few weeks there has been a lot of talk from people who've lost on their portfolio. Not sure, but think only those who've experienced a loss are talking about it. Maybe those of us who have done real well just don't want to brag. Kay and I have done alright, thank you.
Way back when we first started out on our own investment rollercoaster we got some investment advice from a guy writing under the pen name "Matthew." He quoted the greatest, most successful financial advisor of all time who said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6.33, KJV)
We took this advice as we invested our lives in developing our portfolio:
KAL (aka 1st Mechanic) One of my professors taught me that no one can know everything, and the wise man chooses what he will be ignorant of. I chose cars. Obviously our first choice had to be in mechanics. Our investment will never pay big cash dividends, but it has proven to be absolutely dependable and available when needed.
NPL (aka Geek Inc.) Not sure when it became obvious we'd need computer expertise to survive in the 21st century, but are glad to have this investment. Truth is when we first decided on this direction for our portfolio there probably weren't many people who knew what a personal computer would be. But, about once a week we get some kind of return in the form of patient explanation of how we screwed up the computer.
MDL (aka The Brat) The best long-term investments in is military assets. It benefits everyone for us to put one-fifth of our resources into what benefits the U.S. Army. This investment has made steady progress, reflecting a value even the Army recognizes.
SES (aka Sugar) Every family should have access to a genuine, first-rate attorney-at-law; if only to pick up the pieces after the golden-agers get way, way past a mere 65. We knew this would be a solid investment, especially since all our other investments had been mere masculine endeavors.
BWL (aka Babe) Education, particularly fourth grade, isn't much of an investment in terms of financial return. There were times we thought this the most volatile asset, but it has paid off with maturity and we doubt the returns will ever stop coming.
So, that's my portfolio. I have invested my life in these assets, and I have nothing else of value to show for my 65 years. A more diverse group of resources you would be hard-put to find in the very best 401K plan available. I wouldn't trade having invested in any of them for ten-million dollars, and I wouldn't invest a nickel now to have any more such "assets."
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.