Monday, April 16, 2007

The Idea

Last night, I thought, "In some alternate dimension out there, there's an Andy running around doing theatre. He's a starving actor in New York or L.A., possibly respected, more likely not. He can barely afford rent and doesn't know the first thing about personal finance. Maybe he has a goatee."

I thought about some of the financial luxuries that Real Andy takes for granted, but which Alternate Dimension Andy (ADA) doesn't know anything about. The things ADA doesn't care about and thinks he can't afford: owning stocks, contributing to his 401(k), etc. Notice that I said "thinks he cannot afford." See, what ADA doesn't realize is that he cannot afford not to know about and take advantage of these things.

Recently, I've added "Personal Finance" to my ever-growing list of nerdy hobbies. I read about a book a month on the topic. I check Google Finance, Money Magazine, and about a dozen blogs and websites about finance on a regular basis. I've gotten my financial act together, and I'm trying to get the people around me to do the same.

To anyone who knows me, it might seem like a strange hobby. After all, I've had some rather serious financial problems in my time. There have been all the usuals -- a late rent payment here, a bounced check there -- and there have been far more serious incidents -- namely, my car being repossessed after I failed to make a couple of payments. In my mind, this actually better qualifies me to dispense financial advice to ADA: I've learned some important lessons.

But why am I, Real Andy, even worried about Alternate Dimension Andy? I'm worried because it is only by chance that I fell into the very important hobby of personal finance. I'm worried because I think I have a rough idea of what ADA knew about personal finance when he graduated from college -- namely jack shit. I'm worried because I want that goatee-donning bastard to eat and to have a roof over his head.

I don't necessarily care if he's rich; I know that's not important to him 'cause it's not important to me. I just want this: when the time comes, after a lifetime of struggling and starving for his art, for him to have the option to retire. That is, if one day he hasn't made it (or, perhaps more likely, he's gone through a lifetime of feast-or-famine), he'll be able to take a day off and sit at home reading the newspaper. He won't be 65 with aching joints, unable to afford medical care, working 60 hours a week as a too-old busboy in a scary part of Brooklyn. Not unless he wants to, that is.

I'm writing this blog so that if we ever get inter-dimensional Internet access and Andrew Kasper in Dimension 24XS-B (ADA) decides he wants to look himself up in Dimension Alpha Prime (Real Andy), he'll find this blog and take some lessons away from it. And if my fellow starving artist friends, in the process, can enjoy and learn from this blog, then I'll be that much happier.

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