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Institutional Investor - Past year financial investor who’s now locked up in a nuthouse.
S. Willey, Financial Advisor
Man, what an economy.
We’ve got bankruptcies and home foreclosures galore. The stock market is acting like that crazy aunt you keep locked up in the basement. Shoot, interest rates are so low that even if you do have some money, you just about have to pay the bank to hold it for you.
You know, in times like these it pays to have a financial advisor. Preferably an old gentleman with long experience that can “hold your hand” during the wild plunges of this economic hurricane. You need a fellow that’s seen it all and isn’t shaken as the financial storm whips around you. You need a steady, refined gentleman of scholarly background who’ll calm your nerves and allow you to sleep at night, knowing you’ll eventually come out ahead.
I picked just such a New York financial advisor, Mr. S. Willey, 30 years ago. I want to share with you some of his sage advice during these turbulent times from a phone call I made yesterday.
Ring, ring, ring!
“Mr. S. Willey, Financial Advisors, Inc. How may I help you?”
“This is Ken Begley. I’d like to speak to Mr. Willey.”
“One moment please while I connect you.”
“This is Mr. Willey. Can I help you?”
“Hey, Mr. Willey, this is Ken Begley. I hope I’m not disturbing you.”
“Ken, Ken, I always have time for my clients. I’m glad to hear from you. I was just getting some fresh air from the window. Give me a minute to step off of the ledge.”
“Window ledge? Mr. Willey, you weren’t thinking of jumping were you?
“An old Wall Street warhorse like me? Why, I’m insulted. How dare you question my stability because of this little financial rain storm.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Willey. I didn’t mean to doubt you after all these years.”
“No problem, Ken. Besides, they installed metal bars over all the windows yesterday.”
“Well, that’s good. I think. Anyway, I’m getting a little nervous about all that money I’ve been sending you for the past 30 years. How’re things looking? Is my retirement on course? Will I be able to pay for my five kids’ college educations?”
“Well, let me look up your portfolio on the computer. Your biggest stock holdings are in America Can, Nationwide Gas, Acme Water, and Angel Tissue Paper. You probably ought to sit tight on your can and let that gas and water go. Your tissue stock has hit a new all time low and wiped the bottoms of millions of stockholders clean.”
“Oh my gosh, Mr. Willey. That sounds awful. How am I going to pay for my kids to go to college? I want them to have as many diplomas as you have on the wall behind your desk.”
“Ken, it’s not that expensive for your kids to get a college diploma.”
“What are you talking about you crazy old man? It costs thousands to get those degrees.”
“Not the way I did it. I just sent in a check to a certain post office box for $30 and they sent me back two BA’s, an MBA, and one PHD.”
“You mean you bought your degrees?”
“What an awful thing to say. No, they were awarded based on my life skills earned from “real work” from the “real world.” That‘s with a capital “R” and a capital “W”.
“What was the real work?”
“Running a weiner wagon up here on Times Square.”
“But my oldest daughter plans on being an engineer.”
“That’s different, Ken. Engineering degrees are $35. Let me find you that address. It’s here somewhere. By the way, Ken, I think after 30 years you should call me by my first name.”
“What’s that, Mr. Willey?”
“Slick. It’s a family name that’s been handed down since my ancestors sold the pilgrims Plymouth Rock.”
“I think I’ll stick with Mr. Willey. Where’ve you been investing your money?”
“I have to admit I didn’t invest my money.”
“What did you do with it?”
“I spent most of it on wine, women and song. But, like a darn fool, I squandered the rest.
“What are you recommending people invest in now?”
“Gold bricks and shotguns. Things might get pretty nasty when the dollar falls all apart next year.”
“I think I’m going to withdraw all my money from the stock market and those real estate partnerships you put me into.”
“You could do that, Ken, but you’d only have enough to go to McDonald’s a couple of times and buy yourself a box of cigars.”
“That’s pretty depressing after 30 years of saving. How will I ever retire?”
“Retire? You don’t want to retire. It’s highly overrated. Take me, for instance. I’m 89 years old and I still walk to work every day from my cot at the homeless shelter. In fact, I walk everywhere since they repossessed my car. But look what great shape I’m in. Take it from me. If you retire, you’ll fall over sideways shortly thereafter.”
“Well, thanks Mr. Willey, or Slick. I hope all this economic turmoil doesn’t make you want to give up.”
“Don’t you worry about me getting discouraged, Ken. I’ll tell you what. If you came in here today with $1,000,000, I’d invest that for you until it was gone like all the rest of your money.”
“That’s very reassuring, Mr. Willey. I think.”