Back when day-traders ruled the Earth and dot-coms frolicked about, My Love and I made something akin to $100,000 in profit from a paltry sum we had invested six months earlier. Coming from a family of conservative accountants (e.g., they didn’t work for AIG or Enron), my inclination was to take half the profits and start a college savings account for our gestating brood-to-be.
“Are you crazy? You invest for the long term, not the quick buck,” said My Love, her eyes shooting sharpened copies of her recently minted MBA at my head. “Besides, do you know what we’d pay in taxes if we sold now?”
I didn’t. However, I’m sure it was considerably less than the $104,637 our portfolio lost during the three weeks following that conversation.
Flash forward: I’m cooking dinner and Thing 1, my 8-year-old diva-in-training, had just settled in front of the flat-screen for a dose of “The N.” As I wait for the sauce to thicken, I catch the screen flash to a young woman talking about wearing pajamas to all her college classes.
Nothing new, I thought, girls were doing this in my undergrad days, back when my nine-and-half-fingered, Les-Paul-playing roommate, Wild Billy, and me were the cool kids on the dorm floor because we had a VCR. With fake wood paneling. And huuuuuge knobs marked “VHF” and “UHF.” The ad turns out to be for an online degree program that let you earn your diploma from the comfort of your home.
As I’m stirring the noodles, Thing 1 bellows: “Why would anyone want to go to school on their computer?! You can’t meet a boyfriend if you go to school on a computer!”
When My Love came home that evening from a hard day of calculating insane bonus payouts for international snack-food pushers, I kissed her long and hard. Then I promised to never — ever — question her investment prowess again.