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Money Tips from Alice in Wonderland

Money Tips from Alice in Wonderland

Robin Applegarth | Divine Caroline

July 09, 2010

4. Free lunch? It’s probably an illusion. In Wonderland, the Mad Hatter invited guests for tea, and then directed them to sit down to a plate of crumbs.

The Mad Hatter is a Bernie Madoff–type character running pyramid schemes. He takes from one and passes it to the next (with big cuts for himself of course). The Mad Hatter and March Hare were the ones who got the best food at the table.

Another character in the story offers this tidbit: “The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today.” One could substitute “money” for “jam” in most sticky pyramid schemes or get-rich-quick investments.

5. Stay involved with your finances. In the story, Alice also met a smoke-ring-blowing caterpillar curled up on a giant mushroom. This philosophical creature didn’t want to be disturbed by Alice or the rest of the world. He’s symbolic of the “avoider” who doesn’t want to be bothered with taking care of his/her money, and hopes it will magically grow. Unfortunately, lack of attention can make money go up in smoke.

6. Is it right for you? Set your own goals. Alice was given a magic potion that could make her bigger or smaller, to enter various-sized rooms.

Today’s Allison will be confused if she tries to fit herself into others’ spaces or investment plans. Just because Uncle Tweedledum made profits off of a gold mining stock from Brazil, doesn’t mean that it’s right for her.

Choose appropriate investments to meet your own goals. If your goals are short term, use things like money market mutual funds or certificates of deposit (CDs).

If your goals are more than ten years away, choose stock-based, no-load mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs). They’ll have the lowest fees and can provide some diversification. Need to find a door into balanced retirement investing? Look into target-date mutual funds.

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