Don’t take this advice lying down

In these decidedly unsettled economic times, it’s hard to know where to make the best investment.

There was a time when the experts recommended real estate as a sound investment. Today, however, real estate investment isn’t for everyone. You need a big chunk of change to become a serious player, since the average single-wide mobile home on the edge of a toxic waste dump goes for about $1.8 million in California.

Established utilities were considered another good investment at one time. No longer. Enron took care of that, with a little help from PG&E and the vigilant public watchdogs under Gov. Gray “I’m Not A Weasel” Davis.

What to do? What to do?

I used to recommend tax-free municipal bonds, but I’ve since found an even better investment that simply can’t go wrong.

With my new investment strategy, you can start with a relatively small cash outlay and build your financial empire at your convenience. You won’t have to deal with a lot of manicured middle men in $3,000 suits and you’ll always have a cushion to fall back on – literally.

The best investment for the 21st century is mattresses.

Really.

Just think back over the past decade or so. What’s been booming? The mattress industry, amigos.

Open any newspaper, turn on any radio or TV station and you’re going to get smacked one upside the head with a multitude of mega mattress ads. They’re everywhere.

(Check your bedrooms – see what I mean?)

Every time an auto parts store, pizza parlor, office supply outlet or florist goes out of business, what springs up right in its place? You guessed it – a mattress store.

Remember the good old days when you could buy a king mattress set for about $150? No longer. You can drop $2,000 on a mattress set these days and the salesperson will still look at you like some kind of cheapskate:

“Whattsamatter, you homeless or something?”

Yes, mattress prices have skyrocketed and they’re going to continue to skyrocket because everybody needs one or two or three and nobody wants to look like a penny-pinching miser when it comes to what they’re sleeping on.

If you’ve got a little spare cash, forget about the stock market. Check out the real action and get into the mattress market.

And don’t waste your time investing in mattress companies. You’ll just have to deal with more of those annoying brokers and middle men and, if for some unforeseen reason the company goes box spring-up, all you’ll have to show for your investment is a lot of worthless paperwork.

Instead, borrow your brother-in-law Philo’s panel truck, head for the nearest monster mattress outlet and start buying.

Again, the beauty of this is you can start small – a few twin beds here, a queen size there – whenever you’ve got some positive cash flow.

Don’t let space limit you. Clean out the garage or get all your Amish friends together and have them raise a barn for you.

Strike while the iron is hot, because no matter how you look at it, fellow future millionaires, this is a win-win situation.

Originally published October 6, 2002

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