"Money, money, money." There, did I get your attention? I got mine. Now what? My boss says
the focus of this article should be money and personal finances. If I knew much about money,
this column wouldn't be called Poor Keith's Almanac! Oh well, I know you didn't come to me
for financial advice. In fact, the only advice I could give you would be to watch me...and then do
But, are "experts" any wiser? That man of wisdom Benjamin Franklin once said: "Time is
Money." Well, I have lots of time but very little...you know what. Remember all those get rich
books written in the 70s and 80s? Many were very successful. The authors and publishers got
very rich. 99% of the readers? No richer, at least in financial terms, but maybe they learned
something of value. The other 1%? They won lotteries or wrote their own books, which is what
the secret of the original books really was.
My financial specialty is taken from a kinsman Poor Richard: "A penny saved is a penny
earned." I have save lots of pennies over the past 4 years, even found a fair number of them lying
right there on the street. I keep them in a jar in my.... Whoops! Almost told you where to find my
stash. I must have several hundred there now. And who says hiding your money in a sock under
the mattress (darn, let it slip that time) doesn't allow it to grow? A good number of these pennies
are American pennies which have grown to 1.54 Canadian pennies, although they do not look
any bigger. Can't wait to exchange them!
Pennies are easy to save because you can't use them for much, and they are bulky to carry
around. But several years ago, the wisemen up in Ottawa decided they could save some of those
dollars they keep grabbing from us by retiring the $1 and $2 paper bills and replacing them with
coins. We call them loonies -- after the politicians who thought of them and because that is the
way they act when they get to spending our hard-earned (and easily taxed) dollars -- and toonies.
(Remember when it used to cost a nickel to hear a tune on the jukebox?) Not sure why that latter
name. I first thought it was because there were two leg joints stamped on them, but all that's on
them is a bear and the Queen's head. The name probable came from twice as loonie since the
design is twice as crazy as the other one. I hear the United States is considering eliminating the
Bill and reintroducing the dollar coin. I bet there won't be any silver in those dollars.
Anyway, I think there was some back-room lobbying by the wallet and belt makers for the
change. My 20-year guaranteed wallet is starting to fray around the coin pocket from the over-packing of those loonies and toonies. I am not rich enough to carry many bills these days (except
those from the electric company, phone company, etc.) And the strain of carrying all those coins
has forced me to wear stronger belts and even consider suspenders for added structural strength.
Why last week, I went to the spit-a-buck machine at the local bank on my way to the market. It
gave me two crisp new $20 bills, which I felt bad about being the first to fold -- though it did
double my money. But as I wandered from stall to stall, the lightness in my pocket disappeared.
For a while I feared my jeans would lie down on the job in the middle of the market as the
coinage congregated. Soon, however, my spending again lightened my load before I suffered
from complete embarrassment.
I do have some advice for avoiding the government taxadermist. You know who he is. He is the
Revenue Service employee who first gets under your skin and then extracts a pound of flesh. My
advice: to eliminate paying income tax...eliminate your income. That will show them!
Anyway, to be franc, I have always had a yen more for gaining a pound than a dollar, and I hope
I can make my mark in a more lira-cal way. And we'll have pun, pun, pun til Daddy takes the T-Bill away!