If you’re one of those people who’d rather hide their money under a mattress than give it to an investment adviser, you’re ignoring a basic economic fact: Mattresses are expensive. Let's say you want to hide $500 under a mattress. A queen mattress capable of hiding such a sum could run you as much as, say, $500. Do the math: By the time you've paid for the mattress, you'll have no money left to hide under it. Smart move, asshole.
While gold coins may retain their value in a turbulent market, they will be worth nothing if they fall out of your pocket and roll down a grate.
Okay, let's say you have thousands of dollars to hide. That problem can be solved by buying a bigger mattress, like a California King, right? Guess again, dim-bulb. A larger mattress may indeed conceal your money, but it’s also an inviting place for a thief to hide inside. Try this scenario on for size: A thief breaks into your home, hides inside your mattress, and when you're not looking cuts his way out of said mattress and robs you blind. Not only are you out all your dough, you've just lost a perfectly good mattress. Ever try to repair a mattress that a thief has been hiding inside and then cut his way out of? Well, guess what: You can't. Now, you're probably saying to yourself, "Hey, wait a minute -- a thief has never hidden inside someone's mattress." Well, there's a first time for everything, and why would you want to take such a risk? We've already established that you don't know what the hell you're doing.
If you're still averse to hiring an investment adviser, you may opt for a "do it yourself" approach, putting all your money in gold coins or cash. While gold coins may retain their value in a turbulent market, they will be worth nothing if they fall out of your pocket and roll down a grate. Equally risky is cash, especially if you keep it in white cloth moneybags with big dollar signs printed on the sides. If a thief gets a load of said bags, he'll pop right out of your mattress and purloin them. Hey, that's the same thief who stole your money before! Now how dumb do you feel? An old saying comes to mind: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, it's time to hire an investment adviser." So stop your bellyaching and let's choose one, shall we? I'll go extra slowly so even you can understand.
Investment advisers come in all shapes and sizes. Fat ones, skinny ones, shifty-eyed ones with pencil moustaches and electronic ankle bracelets. From the list I just mentioned, do not, I repeat, do not hire the fat ones. If they're so well fed, it's probably because they've been paying for three-lobster lunches with money skimmed from their clients' 401(k)s. Similarly, do not hire your mother. She may seem trustworthy, but think of all the times she's lied to you in the past, like in middle school when kids started calling you a dickwad and she said it’s just because they’re jealous. I've got a name for your mother and it rhymes with "pants on fire." With her history of fibbing, you might as well cut a slit in your mattress and hand your cash directly to the thief who lives in there.
What's in a name? Plenty, when it comes to choosing an investment adviser. Much gallows humor has been devoted to the fact that Bernie Madoff literally "made off" with his clients' money. Why his suspicious-sounding pun name didn't set off alarm bells is anybody's guess, but lesson learned. Investment advisers to avoid: Herbie Embezzlesteal, Charlie Takeyourdollars and Jake Pickpocketovich.
Which leads me to one final question: Should your dog be your investment adviser? Let me put it this way: Mine is. Last September I gave my Jack Russell terrier, Daisy, all of my money to invest. She promptly dug a hole in my backyard and buried my entire nest egg. Since then, I've beaten the S & P 500 by more than 50 percent. Now, you're probably wondering, what if your dog isn't as smart as Daisy? No worries. He's probably still smarter than you.
Writer and comedian Andy Borowitz's work has appeared in Conde Nast Portfolio, the New Yorker and The New York Times. His Web site is BorowitzReport.com.