Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pharoah's Dream

Shall we turn to Genesis to see what the Bible has to say about preparing for hard times? Dear readers, please turn in your Books to Genesis 41....

"In my dream, I was standing on the banks of the Nile; and seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. Then seven other cows came up after them, poor, very ugly and thin. Never had I seen such ugly ones in all the land of Egypt. The thin and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows, but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had done so, for they were still as ugly as before."

This one resonates through time. The gluttony of good times, the fear of bad. How easily we forget the specter of hunger and want in that 6th year.... and in the 7th we buy the plasma TV, just before all the jobs come tumbling down.

But no matter how long the good times last, no matter how we convince ourselves we are in a new paradigm of unlimited luxuries, no matter that the latest two generations have never known a real recession - the hard times return. A business cycle changes, a tornado flattens your town, foreign competition steals your job, the ARM reset doubles your mortgage, your spouse dies after years of expensive medical treatments.

Not to make you neurotic, or anything.

So invest now in some personal insurance. Instead of getting greedy, keep prudence in mind. Keep in touch with your family and friends, and be the first to offer a hand when they need it. Save up a year's worth of expenses. Have a little business on the side of your regular job. Reduce your expenses so your wants are few. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life, and refuse to compete with the Jones. Make your hobbies lucrative ones, instead of bank-emptying ones. And remember the Pharoah's dream.

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