Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Depreciation

We have a slight obsession with Moby Dick,
largely because of the Bone comic series.
We live in a town with a transfer station.  We take our trash there and it gets transferred elsewhere, since the actual landfill part of it was closed some time ago.  In an attempt to reduce the amount of stuff that goes into the trash, the transfer station has sheds where people can drop off clothes or household items or books.  Literally, on several occasions we have needed an item and gone out and purchased it only to get it free at the transfer station the following weekend.  Case in point - oven mitts.

Our oven mitts were not working, and lo and behold, I went to the dump and someone had given away grungy yet highly functional oven mitts.  I decided to decorate them.

One of the problems of buying stuff is that it depreciates about five seconds after you buy it.  Some things, like a drill for example, don't lose a ton of their value once you take them out of the store. Some things, like popular books, are worth more as fire starters than books after you've read them.
I have a friend who says that children are a joy in your old age, that they are a treasure.  I always thought this was a little silly and over the top for me.  I'm just not that exuberant in my language, if you must know the truth.  I mean, I love my kids, but investments?  Treasures?

But then I began to think about this, especially since the cost of having and raising children keeps getting brought up to me specifically (since we're adopting), and it's also a frequent topic in public discourse.  And I have come to the conclusion that this friend of mine is right.  Kids are one of the few sensible investments that you can make.
The 70th Governor of the Commonwealth (not some
churlish state mind you) of Massachusetts

If you value them, and you connect with them, they will be with you when you are older.  Granted, people can be unpredictable, but in comparison to what? We have already seen how retirement investments can tank faster than you can say "Deregulating financial markets will reap great rewards", but humans, even under the worst of conditions, tend to remain loyal.  Stocks and bonds are much more fickle.

So kids are expensive, I get that.  Humans in general are more resource intensive than a cat or a gerbil.  Investing in a kid doesn't guarantee a predictable return, but what are you going to put your trust in?  Banks? Seriously, over the course of history,  you'd take financial institutions over your kids?  I wouldn't trust a bank over someone else's kids.  The return from a bank is an illusion that can go *POOF* overnight, the return on  relationships lasts a lifetime (and continues on benefiting others once you are gone).


With all my kids I will have less to put away for my retirement so it can be lost in the financial meltdown that will happen after the next one that comes after the next one.......so maybe I should just be glad to sit back and relax and reflect upon my wise investment and the long term dividends they will provide.

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