8 Money-Smart Things I Wish I'd Asked Santa For

I spent a couple of decades asking Santa Claus for toys, clothes, and gadgets galore, but I don't have a single thing to show for it — I mean, besides a basement full of outdated stuff. Instead, I should've begged Ol' Saint Nick for these eight things that would have paid for themselves over and over again — so I could afford an even bigger basement full of outdated stuff. Take a look:

1. An Impenetrable Credit Score

When I turned 18 and the friendly lady at Discover Card called to ask if I'd like my very own credit card, I enthusiastically said yes. I generally consider that my very first adult mistake. Not that credit cards are bad, but they're the devil in the hands of a financially irresponsible college freshman. Because not only did I max the card out in less than six months, I was unaware that not paying the bill for five years thereafter would result in a disaster of a credit score when I entered the "real world." If only Santa could have done me a solid by fortifying my credit score — against myself.

2. Everything Gold

In 2006, I asked Santa Claus for things like seat covers for my vehicle and a new digital camera because that's what materialistic 25-year-olds in major credit card debt ask for. Instead, I should've asked for straight-up gold bars. Heck, I would've been happy with a few flakes — like this guy who got away with 86 pounds of jeweler's "bench sweeps" worth $1.6 million. Because 10 years ago, on Dec. 11, gold was valued at $625.81 per troy ounce. Flash forward a decade and the price has nearly doubled to between $1,100 and $1,200, depending on the day, and that's really just midrange. On Sept. 12, 2011, gold hit its 10-year high of $1,861.49 per troy ounce, which — if you were feeling lucky that day — raked in three times its original amount if you unloaded a few bricks.

3. EE Savings Bonds

Hardly anybody gives savings bonds as gifts anymore (well, except maybe your grandma) because what fun is a certificate that you have to hold on to for, like, ever to reap its benefits? But just because they're not as popular as they once were doesn't mean they're not still valuable — if you got in on them in the 1980s and '90s, that is. EE bonds issued in the 1980s had rates of return of 6% to 9% a year, compared to today's 0.1% annual fixed rate. Mathematically, if you have a $500 bond from June 1983, for instance, it reached full maturity in June 2013, with a value of $1,014.40. Santa, can you hear me?

4. Real Estate in Depressed Markets

Throughout my years living in major cities like Baltimore and NYC, I've heard legendary tales of beautiful row houses and brownstones in economically and socially depressed areas, like Federal Hill in Baltimore and Harlem in New York City, that sold for crazy-low prices like $1. The $1 price is probably a myth, but dilapidated properties have in fact gone for very affordable prices with agreements that buyers reside in their neighborhoods for a specified period of time. I personally know a few people who purchased homes in blighted areas for around $30,000 20 years ago and are now sitting pretty on $2+ million lots.

5. College Tuition

All I needed was a cool $100K, Santa. I would've paid my college tuition and room and board outright so I didn't have to make up for half that amount myself over the next 20 years after graduating. Alas, I'm halfway there, and I've paid two of three notes off, but if you could cut a check for the rest this year, I'd appreciate it.

6. A Trust Fund

My financial woes would be nonexistent if I had asked Santa for a generous trust fund at an early age. Then I'd be just like the rest of my friends who were lucky enough to be related to someone filthy rich — free of debt with plenty of time to take selfies on a beach and dedicate my life's work to my own liver replacement.

7. Guaranteed Employment

There's nothing more stressful than job hunting, and I'm thankful that I haven't had to do that in a while since I'm self-employed. But self-employment isn't easy, either. I'm responsible for my own income instead of enjoying that twice monthly direct deposit for just showing up at my desk five days a week. Still, even that's on shaky ground if you don't mind your Ps and Qs — a friend of mine was recently laid off two weeks before Christmas — so this year I'd like to ask the big guy to make sure everybody can get (or keep) the job they really love for a happy and prosperous 2017.

8. Winning Lottery Numbers

I rarely play the lottery, but I do spend a few bucks when Mega Millions is, like $300 million, because, hey, somebody has to win. If that ever happens, my friends, you'll never hear from me again. Ev-er. Send me those winning numbers, Santa!

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Guest's picture

Very cute! Thanks for posting.