Trying to shake off a recent downward spiral in my personal life I came to a rather strange conclusion earlier this afternoon:
I have too much money. Again.
I'M IN THE MONEY
If you recall, I drafted a preliminary budget about a year ago and decided to donate/give away any extra cash that I just didn't really need. At the time, I thought I was pretty conservative in assuming a decrease of 20% in my portfolio given the onset of what we are now calling the Great Recession. By the market lows of March/April 2009 I was down close to 40%, mostly because I'm all about long-term investing and wanted to catch the inevitable upside.
As of noon today my long-term investments are up close to 29% YTD and over 13% from my initial budget projections. This does not even take into account some pretty serious gains I made over the past couple of weeks buying short in the energy and financial sectors. In fact, I made enough mula over the past 10 days to pay for most of my upcoming trip through South America.
HAVING TOO MUCH MONEY BLOWS
Under normal circumstances this would actually be a good thing. After all, why would anyone bemoan having MORE money?
Fuck that. The truth is that having “too much” money corrupts the soul. It leads to unnecessary excess. It feeds the baser instincts of our nature. It certainly doesn't add substantally to our long-term “happiness.” The bottom line is that having “too much” money blows.
What's so beautiful about the simple living movement is the fact that “too much” is something that each one of us should decide for ourselves. My budget might be extravagant for some, inadequate for others. In fact, I have plenty of wealthy friends who currently lead a perfectly happy life on their own terms, but who would gag if they were forced to live on my budget for even a single day. Just as I would break out into a cold sweat if I was forced to live the life they seem to enjoy.
Don't ever feel guilty about having more money than others. But always be fearful that you might lose your soul if you have “too much.”
So, what now?
I don't know. I guess I could do another give-away. A couple of small donations to some VA hospitals and an animal rights organization might also do the trick.
On the other hand, maybe the thing to do is to keep investing and then dole out extra cash over time. I rather enjoy this investing racket and it would actually feel good to keep increasing the donation pie over the long term.
Ummm...maybe an Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity foundation is the way to go. :)