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Leveraging Christmas

December 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Things are tight this year, so I’m going to take a tip from Wall Street. Usually I send gifts to charity in honor of relatives living far away. Doing this costs fewer trees and is far healthier for the recipient than lofting another calorie-laden package of designer chocolate into the mail for Uncle Rich or Aunt Sarah.

In the past, I have honored relatives at Christmas by making gifts of tree seedlings, rabbits, and a even a flock of chicks. I ordered these donations online through a charity that does on-the-ground work, helping village people around the world leverage the fecundity of the animals or trees provided to them into gifts for others and greater prosperity for their communities. It’s a wonderful program.

There are lots of animals to choose from…sheep, goats, camels. I’m tempted to get a camel this year, but at $850, the camel is way too much of a stretch. Geese are more affordable. Although I can get a share in something else for $10, that flock of geese I have my eye on starts at $20.

This year, as I noted, things are a little tight. I still intend to give, but I have decided to employ a Wall Street strategy. I will donate for one flock of geese, then carve it up (only on paper, of course).

Then I plan to honor each of my farflung relatives with a derivative of this gift.

Wait a minute! How are the unsuspecting recipients supposed to know I have really made the donation of the underlying geese? Will they examine the paperwork, or what? Will they want to know which end of which goose their fractional shares are from?

A goose is a pretty non-toxic asset, but I guess they’ll just have to trust me on that.
© Shelley Buck, 2010. Used with permission. Shelley Buck is the author of Floating Point: Endlessly Rocking off Silicon Valley, available at Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and (via Apple’s iBook app) on the iPad.

Tags: Thinking like Wall Street

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