Friday, June 05, 2009

Storing Up Treasure

A few days ago I mentioned that my family is using the trust GLD as a defense against upcoming inflation.

Investing in gold is emotionally interesting for a religious reason.

It would feel really weird to buy a safe and keep American Eagle bullion coins in it. I am sure this is because Yeshua taught (in Matthew 6:19-20)
Do not amass for yourselves wealth on earth, where moths and rust consume, and thieves break in and steal. Instead, amass for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and thieves do not break in or steal.
However, I am used to owning investments towards a future retirement, without it feeling weird at all.

In part my investments do not seem as "real" as a safe with bullion because I always think about them long-term.

Also, the investments do not ring the same "amass wealth on earth" alarm bells because I only think about managing their growth, never about spending them. Perhaps I'm strange, but I've never thought about what my retirement might be like! (Similarly, and quite atypically for a parent throughout most of history, I have never thought of my child as an important part of my security in old age.)

Moreover, now and then God will tell me to give some of my investment's worth to someone else (all that I "own" is really God's, after all). So I am very used to thinking of the investments as wealth I steward, rather than personal treasure.

Of course nothing I wrote in the previous three paragraphs could not also apply to a safe containing bullion--but I'm not used to that, so it would seem weird.

While getting the links to write about quarters, I found out that the U.S. Treasury in minting new $1 coins.

When I was in graduate school I enjoyed using Susan B. Anthony dollars when shopping in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista. In those days I wore a belt pouch and mostly used cash for ice cream and comic books. Those coins had just the right heft, size, and value.

Returning to the present, Eugene has many homeless people who ask for money on the street corners. I know and help support a few of them. Having some $1 coins in the car would help: I could flip one to a homeless friend even if my car was not first in line at the traffic light, and the coins would be a conversation piece and reliably survive rainy weather.

I'll have to check if my bank stocks the new $1 coins.

Oddly, it would not seem weird at all to keep a bunch at the house if the only way to acquire a supply is to order a bunch directly (without shipping fee) from the Mint.

Interestingly, keeping a bunch of currency-value coins in a safe with plans to give them away sets of no "amass wealth on earth" alarm bells, even though keeping bullion-value coins towards retirement does. This is sensible yet irrational: the difference stems only from my personal history and hangups since Yeshua's words about moths, rust, and thieves apply equally to both.

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