Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Financial Advice

With the news that the housing-crisis (foreclosures; stalled sales; "credit-crunch") may affect the economy severely unless the government acts to get the flow of credit going again, I thought it might be time to break out a poem that expresses less than full confidence in such concepts as "investments" and "retirement." I once read the poem to a group from a Board of Trustees with significant fiduciary responsibilities. Before I read the poem, I assured those present that the poem was in no way a comment on their management of funds. Several in attendance were multi-millionaires, and they seemed genuinely amused by the poem. If I had millions of dollars--heck, even one million--I might find the poem more amusing. Anyway, here 'tis:

Animals And Investment

1. The Managed Fund

Crows guarded his retirement plan.
They marched around its perimeter.
Squirrels managed the fund.
They wore small green visors,
used their cheeks as briefcases,
embezzled by accident, forgetting
where they buried the dividends.

2. Fixed Income

One day so dispirited by his work
was he that he decided to retire.
He asked to begin to withdraw
his pension. The account-manager,
a raccoon, presented a box to him,
removed the lid, and waddled away.
The new pensioner peered in.
Feathers and leaves were all
the box held. His income was fixed.

from The Coast Starlight (2006), by Hans Ostrom

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