Unless you’ve been lost in a cave staggering around in the dark for the past six or seven years, or stuck in a coffin with a sticky lock, you already know that this decade has been a very prosperous one for many members of the Zombie community. Demand for Zombies in the television, film, licensing and live event industries is at unprecedented levels, offering exorbitant salaries, incentives and participation deals, the likes of which have never been seen before and may not be seen again.
Beginning in 2003 when economic analysts first became aware of the rising purchase power of the undead and integrated that demographic within their analysis of the Baby Boom generation (47-66), the older generation (67+), and the next generation of wealth creators (ages 18-46) , they were startled to discover that Zombies were the fasted rising class of high net worth individuals across all three generations. In just nine years, the average net worth of a gainfully employed Zombie is $3.7M.
Is this good news? Well, for most of you who have died, dug yourself out of your own graves, auditioned and won roles or licensed your image to a publisher, and are currently staggering around cities and the countryside with the sole, express purpose of killing and eating living people, the reality of the situation is that unless you are fortunate enough to have cornered a financial adviser in his or her basement, the opportunities and the time to understand what to do with your cash as well as what’s required to ensure a financially secure retirement are few and far in between.
Tragically, the reality is that most Zombies live, die and rise again and again broke. While economic analysts are correct about the average Zombie being worth more than $3M, most never look beneath the surface which reveals a much harsher truth. And that truth is this: 87% of all active Zombies who have great stockpiles of cash at their disposal use that cash to mop up the remaining blood and brains of their victims and swallow it.
What can Zombies do to make sure you are not part of that 87%? I’ve outlined a five-step plan.
1. Take Personal Responsibility
First, it’s important to understand that when you are the recipient of new found wealth, it’s up to you to find the skills in which to manage both your money and your life and by life, I mean undead state. This is no time to go along with the crowd unless you are exiting a movie theater or sports stadium which has been set on fire due to a person swinging at a fellow Zombie’s head with an axe, missing the mark and striking a gas line connected to a series of large and implausibly placed propane tanks.
Realize that you, and you alone, are responsible for understanding and managing your own financial future. Be committed, stay involved and do what you can to read and learn as much as you can. Try to confine your attacks to small towns where it’s common to find banks, financial adviser and brokerage firms that have large sections of pamphlets, prospectuses and brochures to study and ponder and most importantly — are located at street level and with large plate glass windows which can easily be stepped through, if you are patient enough to allow a Zombie or two to precede you through the front door, and wait for them to be blasted back out through the front window by a shotgun wielding CPA or his girl Friday.
2. Take Stock and Give Yourself Time to Understand Your Situation
It is not easy being a Zombie even in the best of circumstances and while having an inexhaustible cash flow may seem like a very positive situation, the recommendation is that you do nothing with your cash for the first three to six months and that you place it in a highly liquid vehicle, perhaps under a grave stone, inside a drain pipe, or in the purse of a woman you’ve just attacked, dragged into an abandoned warehouse and plan to eat for a special occasion such as Superbowl Sunday.
This is a very emotional time, and new found wealth may lead to unbridled feelings of jealousy, recrimination, guilt, and anger directed at yourself and others. Without the ability to leverage perspective and self-control that only time allows, it’s highly likely that your paranoid emotional state will contribute directly to the breakdown of relationships you cherish with friends, family and even those you stumble around with aimlessly until happening upon a family milking cows.
Hold on to your money until you know what you plan to do with it and never, ever purchase a car unless you absolutely need one as their resale value drops exponentially the instant you drive off the lot and crash into the building across the street because Zombies don’t know how to drive.
3. Finding the New You and Determining Your Future
With new found financial security and good cash flow comes opportunity – beginning with the one that allows you to determine whether the road you’re currently on is the one you’d like to travel for the rest of your wandering days or until such a time as all or the majority of your brain is removed from your head. While Donald Trump is not a Zombie, public reaction to him over the years is directly analogous to Zombie discourse with the general public and as such, Mr. Trump provides a solid example that even the most egregious of all social pariahs can use their purchasing power to secure the social graces of the uber-elite.
Are you tired of wandering the earth in search of your next meal or have grown bored with stalking, attacking and eating victims who won’t stand still or worse yet, try to hack you to pieces using shovels and rakes? Would you like to live on your own island and have cadavers flown in fresh daily? Would you like to explore the pleasures of a vegan lifestyle, start your own philanthropic organization, or perhaps finance your own campaign for public office, as one of your own, Michelle Bachman, has successfully done? These options are merely suggestions, of course, but are intended to make it perfectly clear that for a Zombie of high net worth — there are no options that are off the table. If you are willing to pay for something you want, there is always someone willing to take your money.
4. How Much Do You Really Have?
After you’ve decided what to do with your money after the three to six months cooling off period, it is absolutely critical to have a solid understanding of your financial situation, to know where your money is and to know that you have access to it. Let’s talk about cash flow first. Among the 13% of Zombies who do not eat their cash but choose to hold on to it, the ones who are most successful keep it in their pockets rather than stash it in remote locations. Why? Statistically, 17 out of every 20 Zombies who are attacked are knocked unconscious, giving them the ability to rise again with all of their financial assets on hand.
If you are knocked unconscious for a lengthy period of time, and have placed your cash elsewhere, you run the risk of being carted off to an unfamiliar location or tossed into a bonfire along with other Zombies and, occasionally, items which didn’t sell at yard sales, in which the smoke and flames may drastically impair or even eliminate your quasi-fine motor skills or sensory perception abilities making it all the more difficult to get your hands –should you still have them — on your cash again..
And what of long term investments? This is a tricky question but one best addressed head on. It is extremely unfortunate but an absolute fact that very few Zombies have the mental acuity to make sound investment decisions. It is a cold reality that the only chance of financial security lies within the expertise, guidance and support of financial advisers who have not been previously deceased.
5. Finding a Financial Adviser
When it comes to finding a sound financial professional to guide you, you’re going to have to stop listening to your gut and go with whatever is left in your brain cavity and hire a living, breathing adviser. While there have been multiple cases of well-intentioned Zombie accountants and financial planners who have attempted to hang up a shingle (sadly, a task in itself which has never been successfully completed), arguing that they are the only ones who truly understand the Zombie life and what it means to have financial independence within their culture, the results have been disastrous. Double digit losses across the board, even when investing money into highly conservative, low yield vehicles such as savings and Christmas club accounts. Invariably, each time a Zombie accountant walked into a bank or brokerage firm, lots of people died, and the unsuspecting Zombie client was forced to write off the losses or risk a similar end by attempting to “see what he or she could do to get my money back”.
In the unlikely possibility of getting a referral, soliciting the services of a financial adviser or broker takes careful planning and substantial due diligence. It is often impossible to determine in advance whether an adviser is willing to take you on as a client or take your head off with a Louisville Slugger. While there are no guarantees, here are a few tips to help you make the proper introduction:
- Find a financial adviser or broker who is elderly, walks with a cane, or is confined to a wheel chair. This will reduce the risk of your being attacked prior to their learning the purpose of your visit, and conversely, should they not have expertise in the types of investments you seek, they will be easy to catch and eat.
- Approach any prospective financial adviser or broker with two fistfuls of cash extended toward them and do your best to configure your face so that your mouth is closed and slightly upturned in a shape that might possibly be construed as a wry smile. Prior to meeting with the adviser, examine your body and clothing very carefully and remove any remnants of prior victims.
- Everyone likes flowers and they can be a wonderful ice breaker. If you have access to some, by all means bring them, but remember you run the risk of sending mixed messages if you are still dragging the body of the person who formerly worked at the flower shop when you knock on the adviser’s door.
Once you have found and secured the services of a capable and credentialed financial professional, the world, as they say, is your oyster. My recommendation is that you don’t eat people who eat them, however, as they often contain unacceptable levels of mercury. Happy investing and here’s to America staying bullish on Zombies!
*Zombie Photo courtesy of Andrew Braithwaite via Wikimedia Commons: By Andrew Braithwaite from Melbourne, Australia (Hanging out)
© 2012 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett