I just got off the phone with my financial advisor, Dave. Dave stated that my assets are safe and that I should chill out. Then he had to run to catch a plane to well, he couldnt tell me other than a happy place far, far away.

Nobody told me in school that someday I would have to be a stock analyst. Maybe its just as well. If they had, and if I understood one iota about what is going on these days, I would probably have jumped off a very tall bridge. However, since I am blissfully ignorant, I listen to Dave.

Wonder when hell be back?

The good news, of course, is that our next president will fix everything. I heard that on TV.

But, in the meantime, we eye doctors must do all we can to protect and save our hard-earned income. So, let me share my best ideas with you, my loyal readers. Follow these steps to financial independence:

1. Open every conversation with sparkling banter along the lines of, Can I borrow a quarter?

2. Take your old clothes to the local shelter for the tax write-off. Theres a big market for gently used khakis and big ol golf shorts.

3. Dig a big hole in your back yard. Find any oil reserves? Call Exxon. No? Well, maybe T. Boone Pickens will stick a windmill there. After all, you just dug the first footer, no charge!

4. Check the attic for old gold spectacle frames. See if the gas station will let you trade em in.

5. Have you considered moonlighting? Youre smart. Youre personable. With a few months of intense training, you could mow lawns with the best of them.

6. Have a yard sale. How many ball caps can one man wear? And, for you female doctors, you know those shoes always hurt anyway. Get rid of em for fun and profit!

7. Contact your local optometric association officers and start politicking for a bailout. The AOA doesnt have the money, you say? Since when does that stop national representatives from throwing somebody a bailout?

8. Keep raising your fees until you get back on track. What? Your patients cant afford it? Hey, if you raise the fees enough, youll only need one or two patients a year anyway. My plan is to charge $1 million dollars per eye exam and find me one patient. That patient will have my undivided attention, I can assure you. Heck, Ill even throw in a free trial pair of tinted contacts (if he or she brings in the right coupon).

9. Instruct your kids never to marry for money, but to hang around rich people long enough to fall in love with one of em.

10. Get rid of that ol gas guzzler. Thats right, kick out your 16-year-old.

11. Instead of shopping, take up a new hobby, such as forgery or check kiting.

12. Save money! Instead of two glasses of red wine per day for the cardiovascular benefits, try 10 glasses every Saturday night. Thatll save you the equivalent of four glasses of wine per week for a net savings of 208 glasses per year. That equals more than 50 bottles of wine per yearwhich makes New Years Eve basically free of charge!

13. Finally, look at your office and your staff. Where can you cut back? Thats right! No more M&Ms in the staff lounge! Now, youre catching on!

So, theres no reason to worry about the economy after all. Again, remember that the next president has promised to fix it. In the meantime, do whats right! Do what any good American businessperson would do ... Lay off a few people, and give yourself a bonus.

Vol. No: 145:11Issue: 11/15/2008