by | Nov 3, 1991 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

I inherited $1,000. I put it in my savings account.

“Are you crazy?” my accountant said. “Do you know what’s happening with banks right now? Yours could be out of business tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” I said.

I ran to my savings account. I took out my money.

I put it in a 12-month CD.

“Are you crazy?” said my accountant. “Do you know how little CDs are paying these days? Why not just plant your money in the ground and see if it grows? A CD? What a terrible investment.”

“Terrible?” I said.

I ran to the CD, cashed it in.

I put my money in a treasury bill.

“Treasury bill?” my accountant said. “You’re investing in the government? Why not just hand your money to the next passing thief? Don’t you know this country is a zillion billion trillion dollars in debt? We could wake up tomorrow and be owned by the Japanese. What good is a treasury bill if there’s no money left in the treasury?”

“Bad move?” I said.

“Bad move,” he said.

I ran and cashed in my treasury bill. Nothing to be bullish about

I did some research. I looked around. I decided to invest in the stock market.

“Now I know you’re crazy,” said the accountant. “Why not just put your money on a craps table? Besides, everyone knows the market will fall.”

“Fall?” I said.

“Unless it keeps rising.”


“Unless it falls.”


I took my money out of the stock market.

I invested it in Europe.

“Europe?” said my accountant. “Why not just drop your money into a vat of burning oil? Is this the same Europe that just saw Germany explode, Yugoslavia

under siege, and Great Britain with such economic woes that even the Queen is cashing in jewelry? That Europe?”

“Um . . . yeah?” I said.

“They don’t even speak English!”

I took my money out of Europe.

I invested in an American company.

“Really?” my accountant said. “Does it have any employees?”


“Well, with the unemployment rate as high as it is, and with businesses cutting back and even closing their doors, I just wondered if this company you found has any employees. Or is it nearly broke, like the others? Why not just drop your money down a sewer grate?”

I took my money out of the company.

I didn’t ask whether it had any employees. A Depressionist collector

I continued to search for a wise investment. I decided on a piece of art.

“Ha! Now you are truly mad,” said my accountant. “Why not just hand your money to a third grader? What is art, but a bunch of paint and a frame? How are you going to eat that if the Depression comes?”

“Depression?” I said.

“Paint isn’t very tasty,” he said.

I sold my piece of art.

I put a deposit on a house.

“My God, are you ill?” said my accountant. “A house? In this real estate market? Why not just stick your feet in cement and jump off a bridge? Today? A house? You’ll be lucky if you get back half of what you paid for it.”

“But I haven’t even bought it yet,” I said.

“Maybe three-quarters,” he said.

I retrieved my deposit.

I put it on a vintage car.

“Oh, now there’s a good move,” my accountant said.

“But they said it would go up.”

“They also said Nehru jackets would last. A car? Jeez. Why not fly over the Indy 500 and dump all your money out the window? They steal cars, you know. And cars rust. And they corrode. And they need batteries . . . “

I got rid of the car, as I had gotten rid of everything else. No art. No house. No stock. No CD. No treasury bill. No investment.

“Um, maybe I should go back to my original idea,” I told my accountant.
“Put the money in my savings account.”

“If you wish,” he said. “Here.”

He handed me 50 cents.

“What’s this?” I said.

“It’s what you have left after the fees, sales commissions, and penalties for early withdrawal.

“But . . . ” I said.

“Hey. Somebody has to make money in this economy,” he said.

I took my inheritance. I went to the store. I bought a candy bar and peeled back the wrapper.

“Candy?” my accountant said. “Do you know how bad that is for y–“

“Shut up,” I said.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

Subscribe for bonus content and giveaways!