Tag Archives: Money

#53: Don’t Fear The Teenager

Let’s face it: teenagers are frightening. They sleep till dark, wallow in filth, spend much of their time steeped in electronic violence and pornography, and the rest of their time getting high and squandering your money. They drive too fast, have irresponsible sex, take insanely dangerous risks, and scariest of all, are perversely adept at making us feel ancient.

If confronted by a teenager, try not to show your fear. Do not talk loudly in an artificially cheerful voice. Do not ask such inane questions as, “How’s school?” and “Where do you want to go to college?” Do not, for the love of God, attempt to “get down” with the teen by attempting to mimic adolescent slang or mannerisms.

Instead, back slowly away taking care to make no sudden noises. Open your wallet, and hand over two hundred thousand dollars to a college, any college, who will take the teen off your hands. With any luck, you’ll get your scary teenager back in four (or maybe five) years repackaged as an adult.

And to the teen readers of HNTAO (yes, incredibly enough, there are some): I’m watching you.


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#45: Don’t Live In A Big House and Complain About Money

We get it that maybe you bought your house a couple of booms ago when prices were low, so you’re really not as rich as you look. We understand that the taxes on a house that big are through the roof (so to speak), and you don’t even want to think about what your heating bill is going to be this year.

And to all that we say: Oh, boo hoo.

If you’re lucky and old enough to live in a big house or a sprawling apartment you bought in 1986 for $200,000, you’re not allowed to poor-mouth. Yes, even if you’ve got cash flow problems. Sure, even if you’re only halfway through putting the second kid through college. If you need money so badly, sell the house and move into the kind of place you can buy for $200,000 these days: a car.

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#27: Don’t Vote Republican

Sure, there are Young Republicans, just like there’s Jumbo Shrimp and Soft Rock. It’s an oxymoron: All Republicans are, in spirit if not in years, old. They’re conservatives, which by definition means they’re against change and for the status quo. They’re pro-money — and why not, since as old white men, they have plenty. And against abortion — again why not, since as old white men, they can’t get pregnant.

Even if, for some bizarre reason, your politics line up with the Republicans, I still implore you to resist voting with them. Think of how old their presidential candidate is compared with the Democrats’. Think, even more important, of your image.


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#16: Don’t Live In Greenwich Village

villageIt used to be, in New York, that young people lived in the Village, and old people lived in Queens. Young people lived on the Upper West Side, and old people lived on the Lower East Side.

All that’s changed around now. Why? Money, honey. Young people want to live where it’s cool, but they have to live where it’s cheap, which forces them to move to places that are less cool, which makes them more cool, which makes them more expensive, whereupon all the young, cool, poor people are forced to move even further out to the frontiers of Brooklyn.

Following this reasoning, Greenwich Village was last marginally affordable in the beatnik era, and now you need to be Graydon Carter to live there. Cool, maybe, but still old.

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#7: Don’t Count Out Exact Change

You’ve been there: In line behind the middle-aged woman who says, “Wait a minute! I think I have the exact change!,” and then proceeds to rummage through the recesses of her bag in search of the precise assortment of quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies that make up the price of her knee-high hose or chicken pot pie.

The reasoning seems to be that, if you pay for something with exact change, you at one stroke declutter your purse and get whatever you’re buying for less. You’ve traded in all those heavy, jangly spare coins for a nourishing meat pie! And acted like you’re doing the poor cashier a big fat favor in the process.

But listen, change is inevitable. No matter how many pennies you get rid of, more will always come your way. And you’re just annoying everybody in the meantime.

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