wife, Fidelity, received a small inheritance the other day from her
recently deceased godmother.
"Itís mine," she said with
true love pouring out of her. "Keep your grubby hands off of
"But Fidelity," I whimpered.
"We share everything. Youíre setting a bad example for our
She barely batted an eyebrow. "Try
another state, pal. Inheritances are clearly separate property in this
one." She caressed the check, right in front of my face. "Yes,
sir, this baby is all mine to do with what I want."
Reluctantly, I conceded the law
was on her side. "So what are you going to do with it?"
"Iím not sure. Maybe Iíll buy
that cute little Mazda Miata Iíve had my eye on."
Fidelity didnít seem to hear me
explain sheíd have difficulty condensing our four children into the
single passenger seat the Miata offers. She was busy cruising down Highway
1, top down.
"Or maybe Iíll take you on
a vacation, all expenses on me. How would you like that?"
I wagged my tail as fast as I
"No," she decided,
rather quickly. "Iíd feel uncomfortable sitting in first class with
you back in coach."
She was clearly enjoying this
immensely. After throwing a few more options on the table and running her
check over them, Fidelity decided the prudent thing to do with her
newfound wealth was to invest it.
"A fine choice," I
said. "Our business can always use some extra cash."
"I was thinking about mutual
funds and tax-free municipal bonds," she replied.
But there was no stopping her.
Each day the mailman delivered more solicitations and information from
companies like Vanguard, Janus, Franklin Fund, and others for Fidelity to
I put together a quick prospectus
for the new Hoppe Foundation, but Fidelity unfairly only gave it a passing
glance. The others she studied in great detail.
"Donít you want my
advice?" I asked one evening as I watched her struggle with all her
"Not particularly," she
replied without even looking up. "As I recall, the last investment
you made outside your business was seven years ago, when you bought an
interest in an apartment complex in Houston, Texas, at the height of the
"The purchase price amounted
to only $15,000 per unit," I answered, a bit defensively. "My
financial counselor (former) said it was a heck of a bargain, with very
Fidelity had heard it all before.
"The 68 percent vacancy rate certainly didnít deter you."
I shrugged. "If the managing
partner had taken my advice and turned it into an all-nudist apartment
complex, Iíd be a rich man today."
"Iím going the safe,
conservative route," she said. "A little here, a little there,
no-load funds, weighted averagingÖIím getting the hang of this."
I was disgusted. "Gee, why
donít you really go out on a limb and buy a certificate of deposit and
get a whopping 3.2 percent return?"
"Laugh now, bozo," she
replied, "but when the kids accept their college diplomas and brush
by you to thank me for my prudent investing, youíll think
She had a point. While my
business is doing fine, itís doubtful many parents except one (me) would
bank their childrenís future on it.
I guess weíre just different,
and thatís a good balance. While I have the need for greed, Fidelity
takes the slow road, plodding along like the tortoise.
Neither of us is likely to
change. Any extra cash I come across is eventually pumped right back into
the business. Iíll expand, reduce debt, build equity and consequently
save for the childrenís education and our retirement Ė in a roundabout
It makes all the sense in the
world to me. What could be safer than investing in yourself?
Fortunately, Fidelity doesnít
have the same confidence in me.
"Thatís it," she
said, sealing the last envelope the other morning over breakfast. "Itís
I peeked at the address and
noted she was sending it about 3,000 miles from my office mailbox.
"Look at it this
way," she said, sensing my mild irritation. "Maybe some day youíll
go public and one of my mutual funds will pick up your stock."
cried, taking her in my arms. "You do have faith in me."