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Checking in with the Tooth Fairy

Is the economy strong or is it tanking? Should we be worried? Let’s face it, our concern about the health of the economy is an exercise in blatant self-interest poorly disguised as concern for the big picture. Is the reassurance we’re looking for found in a mountain of financial algorithms, neural networks and investment advice? Possibly. 

Or maybe the answer can be found under a child’s pillow. The Original Tooth Fairy Poll, sponsored by Delta Dental, has been a fairly good indicator of the economy’s overall direction, tracking the movement of the S&P 500 index for 12 of the past 14 years. According to recent poll results, parents are leaving an average of $4.13 per tooth under their kids’ pillows. A seemingly (to me) generous amount, although an 11 percent decrease from the previous year. Often a first tooth merits a $20 payout.

Regional Tooth Fairy payouts are highest in the West and lowest in the Midwest. Some children have figured out how to leverage the situation by calling their grandparents (the “Florida tooth fairy”) as soon as they lose a tooth. A Head Start program for future hedge fund managers.

Like everyone else in the investment world children compare notes – it’s a sharing economy after all – and the tooth fairy is under significant pressure to keep up from house to house. Woe to the household whose child wakes up and finds out that the tooth fairy is “underperforming.”

Some parents dismiss all of this as an elaborate ruse which can only lead to a lifetime of unrealistic expectations. Children, on the other hand, learn a valuable lesson at an early age.

It pays to believe.

M. A. Duca is a resident of Twin Lakes narrowly focused on everyday life.