Cashin' the Checks
I'm a saver, a working guy who puts money in the bank. If you do that, and you stay continuously employed for 46 years, and you work way up to a middle-class wage, you end up with a solid rock of money in the bank.
And it's not that I'm a financial genius, either. I just lived on 85 percent of my salary for nearly half a century. At first, the money went into the bank, and then into a bank IRA, and then into mutual funds, and then into a 401(k).
In the beginning, it didn't seem like I was getting anywhere. You put $100 a month in the bank, and at the end of the year, you've got $1,200 and a few dollars in interest. I got hooked the first time one of my mutual funds made me a week's pay in six months. No one ever just GAVE me a week's pay, not since I was 14-years-old, washing dishes in a restaurant for $1.25 an hour. That guy paid me in cash every week, and I'm not sure I was of legal age to be working in a bar/restaurant, but my father drank with the guy who owned the place, so I got the job.
It went on like that, too. Security guard. Janitor. Loading dock. Bartender. Stuff I did to get through school. Then, 34 years in the newspaper business, making money from house fires and election nights, shootings and newspaper columns. All the holiday overtime I could get. Freelance work.
I don't like working, but I'm used to it. I've always got another piece of me to sell, and I put money in the bank so I can say I've got something to show for all the lost pieces.
I made good money in stocks during the Clinton years, and I gave some back during the Bush years, but not everything I'd made. I made about 8 percent on my money during the Obama years, which was good enough.
A few weeks ago, I got a statement from one of my mutual funds. During the first nine months of Donald J. Trump's embarrassing presidency, that one fund made me what I make on my newspaper job in nine months.
I was overjoyed. Why not?
"So, you like Trump now?" my conservative friends ask.