Daily Archives: 02/16/2010

Kids Pay Dividends

I had just finished showering on Monday when a small cyclone of blonde hair and cuteness whisked into the bathroom and started knocking on the glass shower door.

“Hi Dadda,” said my rambunctious son.

“Hi buddy,” I replied as I searched for a clean towel. Unfortunately, I forgot to grab one before I got into the shower and now I had to make the dreaded 4-step-dripping-frigid-tiptoe of agony to the clean towels, and then back to the safe, warm confines of my shower stall. “I don’t suppose you can grab daddy a towel huh bud?” I said, jokingly.

And that’s when it happened.

Will happily trotted over to the towels, grabbed one and brought it to me with a big smile on his face. “Heeyugo Dadda,” he chirped as he ran off into the bedroom. Meanwhile, I was left slack-jawed in the shower. A mixture of shocked, proud and — most of all — THRILLED!

Those of you with kids, I want to ask you a question. And be honest with the answer. Ready?

Why do we have kids?

I know some of you will parrot the stock answers everyone else out there gives. Things like “to complete our family” and “to raise the next generation.” That’s all well and good and politically correct, but honest? I don’t think so. I think the honest answer to why it is we have kids is “so they can help us with stuff around the house.”

For the first 22 months of Will’s life, we have totally taken care of him. We have bathed him, cleaned him, wiped him, fed him, changed his diapers, been peed on, pooped on, spit up on, kicked, punched and even bitten. And so far all he’s done is pay us back in smiles, cuteness and heart-warming moments. And really, what good does that do me?

But now it’s different. I asked for a towel yesterday, and the kid went and got me a towel. Do you understand how significant that is? And he was happy to do it. Excited even. Unfortunately he spent last night and all day today at my parent’s house so I haven’t been able to test this further, but imagine the possibilities.

“Will, can you grab daddy the remote control?”

“Will, can you go get daddy a beer?”

“Will, can you fill out this paperwork to refinance the mortgage and lock us into a reasonable 30-year fixed rate?”

Well, you get the picture.

I’m not a financial guru by any means and I have literally no understanding of how stocks, bonds or Wall Street works. But I imagine this is like investing in something and watching it struggle in the beginning, only to see it start paying off in leaps and bounds after a couple of years. And hopefully this is just the beginning. In a few years he can take out the garbage, do the dishes, feed & walk the dog, paint the house, change the kitty litter and do all the laundry. MJ and I will literally have produced a walking, talking household chore machine.

Of course, more experienced investors tell me these particular holdings tend to depreciate as they mature, particularly after about 13 years or so. Productivity becomes much more rare and the profit margin all but disappears.

That’s why I’m going to take advantage of enjoy the next few years as much as possible!

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