Image Credit: Pixabay
Babu Das Augustine

2019 was the year I wanted to retire and enter the new decade with more earthy pursuits such as gardening or looking after my rubber trees in Kerala.

It looks like that is not happening anytime soon as children are looking for more support for their college and my savings and investments are not yielding enough to meet some to these stretched ambitions.

Early in my career, I thought real estate investments were the best option to keep me going in my retirement. Sadly they are now proving to be a mirage and in some cases troublesome liabilities. In many tier 2 and tier 3 Indian cities realty prices have not appreciated much in the last decade to compensate for the alternate cost incurred through interest rates on mortgages and or inflation.

Stock markets too were not too kind to me. After several instances of burning my fingers, I am less optimistic on my market acumen. I suspect my wife knew it all along and always found some excuse to keep her money safe and away from my high-yield dreams.

Going into the new decade, a steady income and liquidity are my prime concerns. Like all other miserable souls of my age out there who have invested in illiquid assets, I too am waiting for redemption by the market forces. Unfortunately, they are not your best friends when you need them most.

Of course, that reminds me of my good old Economics lessons and the theory of second best. In economics, the theory of the second best concerns the situation when one or more optimality conditions cannot be satisfied. The economists Richard Lipsey and Kelvin Lancaster showed in 1956, that if one optimality condition in an economic model cannot be satisfied, it is possible that the next-best solution involves changing other variables away from the values that would otherwise be optimal.

And what could be my second option? Simply work until I can find work, unless the Abu Dhabi Big Ticket’s wheel of fortune decides to turn in my favour.

Well.. of late I am getting visions a theory of third best. It is about my wife’s low yield fixed deposits which I always thought were not very smart investments. I hope she will let me raid these if the new decade turns out to be harsh on me.

Let’s not discuss it in detail. I still want to remain married to her till the death do us part!