“He is richest who is content with the least.” — Socrates

But forget that. This is not one of those common ‘ask less and ye shall not be disappointed’ columns. It is, rather, a unique ‘Ask Less and ye shall not be disappointed’ column. It ushers in a new free feature of this web site.

Wait! Wait! Don’t click yet! Indulge a little haiku and Section 529 frivolity – you do not get this sort of stuff at quicken.com – and then meet me at the bottom so I can explain the new free feature.

‘Oh, not more haikus!’ I hear you cry. Well, yes, more haikus. Deal with it.

HAIKUS FOR A CRASH
by the estimable Less Antman

1.
Lo! A bear market.
‘Time for stocks to return to
Their rightful owners.’

2.
Value investor:
He sold at Dow 3000,
Now thinks he’s proved right.

3.
New electric source:
A painful shock is given
Each time I check quotes.

4.
Sell until you sleep . . .
Invest this way at 30;
You’ll never retire.

5.
For one year it’s cash.
With five or so, buy I-bonds.
Beyond, global stocks.

6.
Buy when stocks are down.
Also buy when they are up.
Buy! Buy! Buy! Buy! Buy!

Kim Ness: ‘This week’s TIME has a little blurb about how Section 529 college savings plans are a bad deal because they hurt students’ chances for Financial Aid. Since I’m doing the paperwork on one for a nephew right now, I’d be interested in knowing what Less Antman has to say about this.

☞ Less Antman this, Less Antman that – everybody wants a piece of him. You may recall the scene where Woody Allen is arguing with some stranger about the meaning of Marshall McLuhan’s work. They are in line for a movie. Finally, as they keep topping one another – the stranger wrote his doctoral dissertation on McLuhan – Allen pulls out the final trump card. He goes behind some prop and pulls out Marshall McLuhan himself. ‘Well, I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here,‘ he crows.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, have I the estimable Less Antman.

Less writes: ‘What I have to say is what you had to say in The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need (pages 91-92): virtually all student financial aid nowadays consists of loans, which are widely available even to fairly affluent families. Outright grants, on the other hand, are rare, except for students who can throw a football. Furthermore, since the money that has been put into a 529 plan already MUST be spent on the education of the beneficiary, there is nothing really negative about the fact that financial aid calculations assume the money will be spent on the education of the beneficiary.’

☞ Which brings me, at last, to the new free feature. It is a link, really, and nothing more, but a link to a wide world of expertise – yours and Less Antman’s.

You know all those very specific questions you e-mail me that I don’t get a chance to answer? Ask Less! Less has set up a message board for all manner of personal finance questions, and will endeavor to do his best to provide answers and guide the discussion.

He charges nothing for this and cannot guarantee the accuracy or efficacy of his answers – and neither can I. But I do know Less to be a very smart, funny, generous, and credentialed soul who always does his best to help.

His motivations for taking this on, as best I can tell, are, first, that he enjoys it, and, second, that he might pick up some clients.

Mine is to lessen the frustration you feel at having to read canine haikus when what you really want to know is whether, when your wife has a Keogh Plan, you are able to establish a Roth IRA.

For the record: I get no part of any fees Less might ever charge a client he acquires though his message board; nor can I take responsibility for his advice. OK. Now you can click. In the future, if all goes well, you will find ‘Ask Less’ every day as one of the permanent options at the top left of this page.

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