Mrs. E. and I want to retire in the next few years. Like a lot of typical ex-steelworkers I had some of my 28 year pension in the mill stolen. The factory I worked at had many owners over the years and some of them never paid into the pension fund. You don’t find that out until the company goes belly up and sells the place. I’ve currently been in a different field the last 15 years and will have a small pension coming from that. Mrs. E. has been in the same field 36 years and will have a pension from that job. We live fairly simple, but like a lot of people helped take out loans for our kids for college. We also spend a small fortune for car insurance and in maintaining our old house. We somehow did manage to invest for retirement in mutual funds in 401K and 403B accounts. I tried to pick mutual funds that weren’t invested in tobacco, Walmart or Koch brother products as I considered them all immoral. I have to say we did pretty good on the investments we picked. We won’t be able to lead a luxurious retirement but maybe a semi-leisurely one.
Now that we are closer to retirement we need some advise on our investments. We need to change them to less risky type accounts. We have now talked to three different investors and are narrowing down our pick. This is very hard for me because investors tend to be conservative Wall Street types not main street working-class types. We checked out one investor in the nearby Western PA. area. My “I don’t want to invest with this guy” sensor went off when he mentioned he graduated from Liberty University. This is the Southern Baptist University in Lynchburg, Virgina founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. In 1984 the university was in debt and bailed out by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. My fingertips would bleed if I typed in all the problems I have with the late Rev. Falwell and late Rev. Moon. Suffice to say that they were bigots and racists who used religion as a disguise for hate speech. That thought immediately had me waiting to hear this investor say something racist or bigoted. He said enough things that really make me think he was dancing around the subjects. I did not react and just told him I would call him back if I wanted to invest with him.
This investor buys time on a local PA. radio station to promote his investment service. His daughter who works with him is a co-host of the radio show. I now wanted to know more about them, so I tuned into their radio program. He spent considerable time on the show bashing immigrants coming to the U.S. The daughter said that the American public was stupid and had unfortunately elected Obama who is an utter failure. She said the government was strangling business by having regulations. She said Social Security is a failed system. She never mentioned that Social Security has cut the rate of poverty for the elderly in half. Financial columnist Jane Bryant Quinn has described Social Security as “Arguably the U.S. government’s greatest success.” Both the investor and his daughter went on rants against people of the Islamic faith. A couple of weeks after my visit to their office I got a call from their secretary. She wanted me to give her a date when I would be coming back to their office for a follow-up visit. I informed her that I am a Christian and a religious person. I said therefore I would not need their services as they were unChristian in their morals. I told her that the investor and his daughter both needed to listen to tapes of their program and think about their hate speech.
My father was a small businessman for over 50 years. He decided early on that you didn’t put food on your table by insulting customers. That message was lost on the used car dealer in Brookfield, Ohio that had a “Fire Obama” sign in front of his car lot. The message is also lost on gun dealers who have up signs saying Obama and the democrats are out to take away your guns and put you in FEMA camps. Sadly, when I see that, you just make me think you are just too damn crazy to own a gun or a sharp pencil. Investors if you want to get that opportunity to invest for us local working stiffs, at least pretend you care about Main Street as much as you care about Wall Street.
We are now left with being a service sector economy, so how about some service where the customer comes first?
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ~ C. G. Jung