When Federal Agents busted up Bernie Madoff’s crazy little Ponzi scheme last month, they found a number of disturbing things. For those of you that live in a cave, Bernie Madoff bilked $50 billion from investors (many of them charities). Madoff had a pile of checks on his desk that were written to all of his family and best friends. He was tying to send them $173 million. This was in an effort to hide the money from investigators and investors. I think we would all agree that this is just about the most disgusting case of greed that there ever was.
In the spirit of Uncle Bernie, I have decided to compile a list of people that I would send money to in the event that the Feds come and try to raid my non-existent Ponzi scheme. I am only going to try to hide $1,000. Here is the breakdown.
$100 to my friend, Lucas. He used to run cross country when we were in college, and would take a change of clothes to change into before class. I repeatedly changed the contents of his bag once he went to sleep at night. He thought we was going crazy. He went to his family doctor to make sure that he wasn’t having a breakdown. I figure the $100 covers the copays.
$200 to my in-laws. My father-in-law never lets me pickup the dinner tab. I hate this. I once tricked him into letting me pickup the check. He was really pissed.
$100 to Walt Morrill. He was an employee of the college I went to. I was preparing my commencement address, and I had mistakenly written that he had died during my 4 years in college. That would have been a really strange moment if my friends hadn’t corrected me the night before the speech. Walt, do what you want with money. You deserve it. Unless you have died.
$100 to the guy who used to sell Hot Pretzels at the mall when I was in High School. I worked at the record store next to the pretzel shop, and I would often go talk to the guy at the pretzel stand. He liked me. I mean, he really liked me (wink, wink). But, I liked girls. I would still pay enough attention to him to get free pretzels. I was a broke high school kid, and I was hungry.
$200 to Cal Ewing, the Patron Saint of High School Economics. He taught me everything I know about the basic principles of the economy.
$300 to Mike Emmendorfer. He was the offensive coordinator of my college football team. I decided 5 weeks into my career that having a broken arm on a Division III football team was not a fun way to spend my freshman year in college. I retired in his office. He told me that by quitting D3 football that I would always be a loser and a quitter. $300 seems like a fair amount to share with him. I’m still both a loser and a quitter.
I wonder if Bernie Madoff’s list was compiled like mine was.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.