Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Millionaire Club

OIFIX - optimum fixed income fund

OIIEX - that’s the optimum international fund

OILGX - large cap growth pool

OILVX - large cap value

OISGX - Optimum small midcap growth

OISVX -small mid-cap value

I wrote down the acronyms as the voice on the phone went through the different options, the premium level of management this fund has and how they will do the work for you.

I was listening to someone whose title was as a financial advisor and wealth manager. This person was now my wealth manager. I listened to her run down the mutual funds bundle I had bought into that offered quick-reacting, flexible market watching and advising from some unseen Wall Street overseer. I had bought my way into the club of the advised and wealthy.

I listened to her and then observed myself  asking questions with detached amusement. I guess I found it funny because I’m not wealthy. Like most Americans, I’m just in rehearsal to be wealthy.

I’ve been playing this part for years. My Dad was a stock broker and he would encourage us dressing up in suits. As a child I would wander around the house in oversized sports jackets smelling of mothballs and Old Spice. I would gaze at myself in the mirror as I fixed my father’s cufflinks and imagined where I would go in this costume: a board meeting, a press conference, Geneva, an alfafa farm, my Alpaca ranch. Perhaps I would jet off to Rio for carnival or ‘copter into the Atlanta for Freak’nic.

In this instance, my imagination was encouraged and inflamed by my parents.

Yes, visualize it, make it your own.

I then went on to spend my college years  and early 20s in a series of low-level jobs. I stopped ironing my pants and wore jeans. My collared shirts hung in my closet as musty relics. My jackets had dust on them. The idea of getting involved in the arts seemed counterintuitive to my childhood dreams of Robb Report, real estate purchases. My parents were apprehensive that I was headed down a dark path of sitting around a chintzy kitchen tables with piles of bills as I wring my hands for the camera crew filming me for a political ad.  

Bye bye suits and ties. Hello sweatpants and sneakers. My wardrobe underwent a stunning transformation from aspiring wealth to despondent poverty. A few years ago I was raising money for a Buddhist organization when a sudden reversal happen. I was showered with money, more money than I had ever been given in my life. And clothes too. From a wealthy donor I was given Armani, Gucci, and all the brand names.

I fondly remembered my childhood while I wore these clothes...and then I gave most of it away. The money was donated to charities, I kept the minimum to pay my rent for a few months when I had to go home and visit my parents. Most of the clothes I donated away to charities  or allowed people to auction them for a good cause.

I still have a small and random smattering of fancy threads. Bruno Magli leather jacket or Sean John suit, or a $600 pair of sunglasses that I can’t wear will pop up in my one of my boxes. It’s like remembering a former life or dream life of the future.

In the last year, I earned some extra income and knew that I had a choice. I could just blow this money on living in New York City, which would happily gobble me back to basics. Or I could do what my parents did and put something down on my future. As a person in my 30s, I thought it was time that I actually thought about what life would be like in my 40s and beyond. Investing in my future was something I had always done on a symbolic level. A stock here, a small fund there, a life insurance policy when I was in my 20s. But nothing major.

I began thinking about what life would be like with an investment. I would actually have something to look at when the stock market ticker flashed across the screen. I would lament the economic downturns as if they were a personal affront to my safety and celebrate Wall Street when the earning records were broken. I would be in the wealthy club, without actually being wealthy...yet.

So now I am listening to where this chunk of money is going to fly off to and do work on my behalf. This money is going to copulate and repopulate itself based on the energy of untold market powers. These powers are rarely understood by anyone in the market itself. It’s more of a religious faith. Fix it Jesus. Fix it, Nikkei. Fix it Dow Jones!

All it takes is a certain amoutn of zeroes and ones on a spread sheet to buy in. No class or race status checks. This is money is actively managed and rigged to rise to the top. I have bought myself a seat in the back of the room, near the swinging kitchen door on a footstool. But still it’s a seat.

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