Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Perils of Dog Food in Your Diet; or, Economize Now or Economize Later

An enduring American belief is the notion that you can always get a second chance. In an economy based on free enterprise, this is both advantageous and often true. But, when it comes to personal finance, you have to understand that your resources are finite. You will get a finite amount of income over the course of your life, and that will be it. If you're talented, hardworking and lucky, it might be a large finite amount. If you work a very long time, you can increase the amount. But, in the end, it will be finite. If you own a home, your home equity will almost surely grow over time. But it will grow only a finite amount. If you don't save some of your income, and if you borrow against all of your home equity, you'll have nothing except Social Security for retirement. What you spend today, you won't have in the future. The money may be well-spent, or not, but it will leave your life forever.

Your choices are economize now or economize later. If you can't bring yourself to economize now, you'll have to economize when your only income is Social Security. We all have excuses and reasons for not saving. But you won't be able to buy the blue plate special with excuses or reasons. Money is required.

Saving isn't a sacrifice. It's a choice. When you choose to save, you'll enjoy the money later, instead of immediately. Sacrifice isn't part of the equation. Saved money hasn't left your hands. It still belongs to you. Save enough, and you won't have to economize later.

We all know the stereotype of the retired and dog food: near the end of the month, a few days before Social Security payments arrive, you might observe an elderly person in a grocery store first look around to see who's watching and then load a few cans of the dog food on sale into a basket. If you don't cotton to the idea of dog food in your diet, build up your savings.

Recent news gives you even more reasons to save for retirement and avoid dog food in your diet. Pet owners are well-aware of a massive recall of pet foods because of apparent chemical contamination of wheat gluten, rice gluten and corn gluten used in the pet food. It's very bad that this gluten was contaminated. But what's also open to question is why the pet food manufacturers even included wheat, rice and corn gluten in the pet food at all. Does a cat patiently stalk wheat gluten? Will a blood hound track the scent of rice gluten? Have you ever seen a bunch of British people in red jackets and funny little hats on horseback ride after a pack of dogs relentlessly pursuing corn gluten? Why is this stuff there in the first place? Evidently, it may have something to do with the protein content of the pet food. But gluten isn't the only source of protein available. So, what's the reason or excuse for using gluten at all?

Here's the horror movie aspect of the gluten thing. If gluten is used in pet food, is there a possibility it might be used in human food? Well? Suspicion is starting to enter your mind. You were feeling outrage for your pet a moment ago, but now there's a worse feeling deep down in the gut. Perhaps, just perhaps . . . No. Don't get up. Don't go to the kitchen and start looking at the ingredients of the prepared foods in your cupboards and freezers. Please don't do it. Don't look. Stop. Stop. STTOOOPPPP!!!

1 comment:

n620420 said...

Wise words from the Uncle -- but I would suggest the spending habits you outline will only be applied by those who have had good discipline from an early age.