As I am sure you will all recall from last month’s column, I boldly proclaimed an official end to the downward spiraling economy. The worst is over. According to my own proprietary data, the economic pendulum is on the upswing. Sure, we may have a few bumps along the way, but basically I’m saying: “Start dusting off those credit cards. Good times are coming again!”
“Where’s the proof?” you ask. Sure, I could be like one of those CNBC time-fillers and spew out all the fancy numbers backing up my claims, but frankly numbers confuse me. I have a more scientifically complex method. My gut. I call it the Bill Miller Recovery Index.
Before I continue, I need to address the obvious. The reason I use my own name in the title is mainly because I think it sounds impressive. It has absolutely nothing to do with me wanting to gain fake credibility from a similarly named money-managing kingpin. I apologize in advance to any future Google users interested in knowing anything about Legg Mason Capital Management.
Back to the proof. This past weekend, hell froze over. After 11 years and 186,497 miles, I finally traded my old car in for a new one. If you were thinking I must have really loved the old car to keep it for over a decade, you would be wrong.
Back in ’99, when most people had money, it was commonplace to buy a luxury car/SUV to show your now ex-wife how much you cared. I was no different. This journey began with the best of intentions.
I hated that car from the second it depreciated 25 percent as I drove it off the lot. I do remember marveling at the much-anticipated German engineering my neighbor always talked about. I specifically remembered marveling at how once you opened the sunroof, it wouldn’t close. And so on and so on.
I learned to live with my hatred of this vehicle mainly because I didn’t drive it much. Until, that is, the one time my ex decided to drive my car to the store and totaled it. As punishment (or penance), I ended up driving this bratwurst-on-wheels for another 150K tortuous miles of wind whistling through the roof.