Finances

Fainnances

(Notr: sorry I missed last week. Problems with Word. As usual.)

Apr. 23, 2018

I don’t envy the treasurer of any business or group. At best it’s hard to make the cash out equal the cash in.

Unless you have a trust fund or large inheritance to cover any shortages.

Nowadays Jane and I do have an income now. Social Security, courtesy of FDR and the Democratic Party, modest pensions from my years teaching, rent from apartments we created from old Hawkhill space, and occasional royalties and sales of books and DVDs through Amazon. We also have considerable medical expenses despite the fact that we are both veterans and get some help from the VA and a bank trust we have been contributing to for many years. And then we have very high real estate taxes as well as road assessments living in this charming, and very expensive, city which tries to sole social and racial problems by throwing money at them. My wife used to pay the bills out of my and her first husband’s salary. She is good at it. Jane is also frugal and far from a spendthrift. She claims she has never worried about much about money and I believe her. Of course she had it easy for the most part with her first husband, Raymond Dykema. She would pay the ordinary household bills out of his ample salary and if any shortages came up, there was always his substantial inheritance money to draw on for cash.

It was a little like that the first three years of my life though I wasn’t aware of it. I was born in 1926. The stock market crashed in 1929. My father and grandfather were rich before the crash. The family owned a large laundry business in Dayton Ohio and stocks in other companies and banks. My grandfather died suddenly. After the crash and ntimely death the business was forced into bankruptcy and among other losses we lost our fine house. In that period my mother had to pay the household bills with no money coming in and no inheritance to turn to for help. To this day I don’t know how she managed to survive!

More personal story will help make my point.

Hawkhill is a little different. I started Hawkhill with $15,000 capital—$10,000 from my savings via teacher pension and $5000 in stock from a well-to-do friend. Sales quickly grew to half a million dollars a year in commercial slide shows, sound filmstrips, videotapes and DVD sales to schools and colleges, and royalties from foreign sales.

At our peak we had 10 full-time employees (one of Jane’s early jobs was to write an employees manual), and began to pay corporate taxes.

It was for sure no Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple and by the turn of the century we were down to two (unpaid) employees. Jane and I did all the shipping, billing, and producing. At this point we decided to not give up.

We would take a dramatic trip around the world to refresh our video in up -date our programs in Science and expand our offerings in History and Social Sciences. We indeed did go around the world; to Hawaii, Japan, China, Taiwan, Cambodia, India, England, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, and Russia (we had been there twice before when it was called The Soviet Union.)

Even before that ambitious trip we were
famous and envy-prone with friends and family for taking glamorous previous trips to search out the original working sites of scientists like Darwin, Pasteur, Curie, Einstein, Galileo, Newton, and early Greek philosophers and scientists. On this round-the-world trip we added famous political and socially famous sites. The total cost was in excess of $40,000. I’m happy to report it was worth it in new video clips, increased sales, profits, better programd, and new ideas I later explored in my blogs, which as you can guess I think will eventually turn out to be bestselling classics.

I detail this for posterity and our children who think we live in some luxury (and we do) in a mansion in the heart of a cool city!

Kate, Jane’s daughter, has recently and graciously volunteered to pay our bills and taxes. It can get complicated and not always good for me. For instance, Kate recently phoned with a request that I sell $5000 worth of my mini $8500 portfolio reserve in order to pay in full the real-state taxes on our house! I politely declined because taxes—we do have to pay them, but not all at once and they are a bad investment. I’m not at all sure but my guess is Kate is operating from a meme inherited from her mother who admits even now that she had never had to sorry about money. (Kate, on the other hand, has always until now, had worries about money.) Jane had assumed when they were children that they were rich from inheritance and the money would never run out. (My father and mother assumed the same thing when I was born in 1926!)

The children also assumed that and in many ways still do. After all, they all went to expensive private schools, they all learned to ski at private clubs, belonged to exclusive country clubs, lived in exclusive houses and neighborhoods, and always felt welcome if not privileged in rich exclusive homes. Extra money for travel or education had never been much of a problem. And it still wasn’t.

Correction. It is a problem now.

Bill Stonebarger. Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. Looking for gift for people who have everything but care about ideas—young devout Catholic to strident middle-aged left-liberal clergy to old-guy conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some sound ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on Youtube.

Unless you have a trust fund or large inheritance to cover any shortages.

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