Free Economic Advice for Joe Matt?
By Bryan Caplan
Seth: You should try working for a living! I’ve got six illustration jobs waiting at home for me and they’re all due by the end of the week!
Joe: Yeah, well… maybe if you tried saving your money like me, you wouldn’t have to work so hard. It’s a simple equation.
Seth: Don’t start.
Joe: I can’t help it — I’m in love with the whole concept of interest! Just leave that money in the bank, or better yet — mutual funds, and the whole thing just grows and grows! Like a snowball rolling down a hill!
The thing you need to realize is that every time you spend a dollar, you’re not just spending that dollar — you’re spending all the accumulated interest that dollar might’ve made over the next twenty years!
--Joe Matt, Spent
If, like Arnold, you think Tim Harford’s latest book exceeds the bounds of good taste, do not buy (or even read the description of) underground cartoonist Joe Matt‘s Spent. But if you want to read an economically compelling autobiographical graphic novel about a unique eccentric, this book’s for you.
Economically compelling? How so? You see, Joe Matt’s goal is to live every day exactly as he pleases, and he’s willing to live like a pauper – and save like Scrooge McDuck – to do so. His goal, as he explains elsewhere, is to accumulate a $100,000 nest egg and live off the interest. (An idea that would really appeal to me if I actually had to suffer to make a living).
Suppose Joe Matt asked you for some free economic advice. What would you tell him? When I met him at Comic-Con, I suggested he switch to index funds. What other practical advice does modern economics have to offer him?
P.S. Don’t say “Check your email at your local public library” – Joe’s way ahead of you!