The Accountant’s Guide to a Happy Life

My clients come in, they say they want to buy a house in the country. I ask them, “How many times do you think you’re going to go to this country house in a year?” They say maybe two three times. I say back, “No times. You’re never gonna go.”

They keep telling me they’ll go, they love the country, I say no you don’t, you’ll never go, save your money. They ask back “why won’t we go?” I say cause you won’t, it takes too long to get there, you don’t have the time.

They insist they have the time, they just went last weekend, I said that’s because you used some other poor fool’s house, if it were your house you’d never go, but they insist that because they just went then surely they would go, I tell them you’ll never go, you don’t have the time, it takes too long to get there.

Maybe you’ll go once, but is once enough to warrant the money you’re going to spend on a pile of garbage in the forest that will probably be a haven for axe murderers, runaways, and country kids who like sniffing glue and having sex with their sister? Or worse, your sister for that matter? How fun is it going to be when some ignorant country kid is having sex with your sister I ask them? Worth the money then?

Those of my clients with sisters don’t understand why their sister would willingly have sex with some strange kid in the forest; those of my clients without sisters well up with tears thinking they suddenly have a sister they never knew about and now that they know about her they’re shocked to hear she is the kind of person who would go around having sex with underage drug addicted boys.

It’s not easy but eventually I am able to show them that buying a country house does unfortunately lead to statutory rape. In Alabama that can get you life in prison, and all because you wanted a quaint fire and a walk in the woods.

You love the country so much here’s an idea: take a room in your already overpriced underused house that is losing value every day and why you should sell now, move into a studio apartment, put the money from the sale into a conservative long-term investment, I have just the one by the way, and wait for the market to change at which point I recommend not buying at that time but instead buying a one bedroom apartment in a dangerous part of town that will eventually be up-and-coming and waiting for the market to change again.

Think now, do later. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. And you’ll gain survival techniques as you struggle to stay alive in your new neighborhood. Some spiritual types say we’re here to learn and make mistakes. I don’t think so. We’re here to make rational monetary choices that protect our security and ensure we have enough money to die comfortably.

So you want a country house. Fine. Take a room in your losing-value-by-the-day house and paint trees on the wall. Put a fox in the corner. I recommend watching old Bob Ross episodes to learn how to make it a nice country scene. Put a stream on one wall. Then stare it at. You’re in the country now. You’re welcome.

I just saved you a hundred thousand dollars never mind the endless property taxes for a life time and lime disease. Plus you can probably write off the paint you spent to make the room “country.”

Then there are the kids. Clients come in to my office, they say “We’re going to have kids next year.” I say, “No, you’re not.” They insist they will, they know how. I say, “No, you don’t.” They say “we do, we absolutely do, we were born with the gift.” I say, “No, you weren’t.” They ask why shouldn’t they have kids? I ask them, “How many years do you think you’ll really love them?” They say “Our entire life?” I say “Never. You’ll never love them.”

They ask me why won’t they love their kids their whole life and I say because they won’t be so cute once you realize how much money you’re spending come tax time. You think you’ll love them, you’ll convince yourself you love them because you’re spending so much money on them so you have to, but you’ll never love them, not like you’ll love the adorable IRA I’m going to teach you how to raise like a baby.

Maybe you’ll love them once or twice, when they say a cute phrase or something pithy beyond their years. But I gotta tell ya, ain’t no “pithy” field on the tax form.

Is the one or two cute moments worth all the money you’re going to spend on this human who will eventually resent you and blame you for everything they are?

Is it worth the phone call you’re going to get late one night when they tell you they’re high on crack and have been shot in the face? Is this what you want?

Or after you’ve paid for their college education and you’re broken down and tired by life they call you and tell you they want to live in East Asia and drink their own urine?

So you want kids. Fine. Adopt a tree. Or if you really want one get a pen pal, sponsor a third world kid. You can write that off as charity and it’ll be like they never existed. And even the money you shell out will be for the price of a cup of coffee. Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a family I’d like to be a part of.

Or, and I don’t really recommend this either because I find them very expensive, but try an American girl doll. I know they’re meant for young girls but they’re very life like, you can eat dinner with them even and buy them new outfits.

That’s what my wife and I did and we have ten! You know what it would cost to have ten kids in this overpriced world? A fortune. You’d never be able to afford it.

But my wife and I have ten American Girl dolls and we love every one of them, sort of. I’m not crazy about the cost of their outfits or the meals we spend at the American Girl Doll store — that pasta is no Olive Garden — but they bring us a certain peace of mind.

A few other kid replacement options are mannequins, plants, and stuffed animals. You can talk to plants and they say they hear you but they can’t talk back, which is good because when you can talk back you invariably ask for money but a plant can’t spend money. Neither can a wooden person. It’s bad enough the plant is raising your water bill. Maybe forget the plant, unless it’s a cactus.

Sometimes people get pets, but I don’t recommend that either. One ailment and you’re in the hole for thousands of dollars for a creature that can’t even speak English and if it could vomit would just come out of their mouth, like it does anyway. At least they eat it. Where was I, I got off topic.

Right. Follow my rules and you’ll be free to live your own life: stay inside, own one pair of shoes, eating fruit you find that fell off trees, learn to knit, layer during the winter when inside to avoid turning the heat on, I can teach you about wind and ice to cool off in the summer, it’s easy, and the best part is when you are ready to leave this world, you will have a nice nest egg to look at.

What I want for you is to be in the hospital dying and someone hands you a phone that shows your bank balance and it is sky high — a real cushion to lay your dying head on. You will smile and thank me, then a second later you’ll close your eyes forever.

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