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“Shameless” Spending

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Sunday, November 24, 2013

it may be time for the Gallaghers to take the cash out of the cookie jar and start making smart investing choices.

Showtime’s hit show, Shameless, returns for its 4th season next month on January 12th. The show stars Frank Gallagher, a hopeless and incapable human being, and his six uniquely diverse children. The always beautiful, Fiona, played by Emmy Rossum, is the oldest of Frank’s kids and the show’s breakout star. She takes a matriarchal role, looking after her five younger siblings, sacrificing her own youth for the greater good.

Through odd jobs and random crime sprees, the Gallaghers just get by. Getting by isn’t good enough. Especially, with the threat of child protective services and bill collectors taking the only things that have value away, meaning the younger children and the house that was left to them by a dead aunt.

With something always throwing a wrench in their plans for success, it may be time for the Gallaghers to take the cash out of the cookie jar and start making smart investing choices.

The Gallaghers, like many low income American families, haven’t considered investing their money because they don’t believe it plays a role in their world. Life gets in the way, as is the case of Fiona and her many jobs. Fiona has had numerous jobs, but family issues often thwart her from sticking around long enough to start collecting benefits and investing in a 401(k).

In truth, the Gallaghers would be much better off if they invested their money, stretching their savings overtime. Essentially, enough money could be saved, so that when Fiona finds herself fired, the family can still get by.

These tips are designed with the fictional Gallagher family in mind. Most low-income families aren’t like the Gallaghers, whose mischievous adventures are completely over the top. Still, these tips are designed to help anyone in any low-income situation. Even if you don’t have a lot of cash on hand, you can still save money and invest.

Keep Your “Squirrel Fund” in a Bank, Not a Kitchen Cupboard

A “squirrel fund” is a terrific idea. The family worked extra hard all summer long to save for the more difficult and expensive winter months. In summer, bills are cheaper because energy isn’t being expended for heating. This sort of thinking ahead is great, except that the Gallaghers saved their squirrel fund in a tall kitchen cabinet, instead of a bank where it belongs.

With unsavory parents, like Monica and Frank, it was only a short time before the kid’s hard earned squirrel fund was stolen. Instead of working to pay the gas bill and keep the cupboards stocked with food, Monica and Frank blew the load on drugs and a carload of American Girl dolls. If this money had been responsibly placed in an interest bearing savings account, they could have earned a 5% return on the deposited funds.

Only Invest in Businesses You’re Certain Will Succeed

Fiona made a huge mistake when she invested in a party, instead of a business. She foolishly listened to a woman her instincts told her not to trust. She bought in to the nightclub, hoping the investment would yield a greater return. By handing over some of her cash, she thought she could double the investment by throwing a huge club night. In the end, the night was a success, but Fiona didn’t earn a single cent for herself.

It was smart of Fiona to believe in herself, but she should have first considered the benefits of an investment advisor. Often times, banks will offer free in-house advice on investments. Take advantage of these perks whenever possible, but beware of banks that charge fees for these services.

Contribute to an IRA

You must have a job to contribute to an IRA, which would be difficult for Fiona, who is often called out of work to deal with tough family issues. Fiona loses a few jobs every season because even in a television show you can’t show up late every day or not at all. That being said, Fiona is still working. Sometimes she’s employed and sometimes she isn’t, but she should still invest in an IRA.

If she invested her savings in a Schwab IRA, Fiona wouldn’t pay taxes on her earnings until she was ready to draw from the account. This would mean more money in her week to week checks because she’s basically deferring her tax fees until retirement. That money can be used to pay bills, something the Gallaghers are constantly struggling with. By paying in a small amount each month, she’s growing her nest egg and saving herself a great deal of money.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is the final total of an account, the end results, the actual dollars earned. In Shameless, the bottom line is almost always zero, which is unfortunate, but makes for great television. In real life, it’s recommended to always keep your eye on the bottom line and make investments work for you, whether you’re rich, poor or something in the middle.

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