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ThoughtsOnline

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I went to see Fun with Dick and Jane, in which a husband and wife resort to crime after he loses his job and they run out of money...

No real plot spoilers follow, but read at your own risk...

While a comedy and not really intended to be taken seriously, watching the husband - and his family - go from living the perfect suburban life to the depths of despair after he loses his job when his company goes under, I am sure many people, myself included, had some of those 'there but for the grace of God' thoughts running through their minds.

Well, just as Jane Galt posted a while back on how to avoid becoming a welfare statistic, there's much your typical hard-working white collar dad can do to avoid finding himself in poor Dick's situation...

For example, don't work at places run by crooks. Don't place all of your pension funds in the stocks of companies run by crooks. Don't stick around a company whose executives are dumping their stock, purported pre-planned diversification scheme or not. Don't put all of your pension/401(k) money in any one place - diversify (which means you have to make a lot of really stupid investment decisions to really get hurt). Don't buy houses at the peak of the market. Don't take out second mortgages - using up whatever equity you have in your house - to pay for remodeling the house... or for any frivolous spending such as vacations, cars, braces for the kids (what, you think someone is going to throw money your way because your kid has a nice smile?). Don't spend all of your paychecks, adding nothing to savings. Don't have your wife give up her job and the security of having a second paycheck. If you lose your job, don't turn down jobs just because they are a rung or two lower on the corporate ladder than the job you had - the important thing is to get working again. Don't hesitate to collect whatever unemployment benefits you might be able to get. Don't keep spending at the same level as when you had a steady paycheck - your cash will last longer, a lot longer. Don't wait until you are desperate before you start selling some of your possessions to raise cash - buyers never pay top dollar to someone who really needs the money. Get your wife back in the workforce as soon as possible - every little bit helps.

And don't resort to robbing convenience stores with your wife... no matter how bad things get, imagine having your kids raised by your crazy siblings or, worse, a foster family. Imagine the convenience store clerk having a gun and putting a bullet into your wife's head. Imagine him putting a bullet into your head.