It's that time of the year again. End of year statements from American Express and Chase. W2s and 1099s. A statement from Countrywide and a year in review from Bank of America. I have a clear view on where I spent my money in 2008. I know how much I spent on gas (a lot), on my mortgage (too much), on books (not enough) and on water (nothing... I have a private well). Most Americans are also opening the most dreaded document of the year: the balance sheet of their investments. A rocky year on the markets. The lows were very low. Most people ended the year upside down. Most bottom lines are printed in red. It's also the time to recalculate, to recalibrate. Time to reassess the wisdom of investing in a specific fund. Maybe Madoff was overrated after all... Maybe there are no free lunches. Maybe the CD at 1.2% was a good idea after all...

Time is the one single commodity that is irreplaceableTime is money they say... I say, "I wish time was that cheap..." Time is the one single commodity that is irreplaceable. We can squeeze as much as we wish in an hour, but we can still not catch up what we wasted in the previous one. I can catch up on my education, on my pension fund, on my sleep, on my diet. But my lost time is lost forever. So wouldn't it be wise to look at how I invest it? If I have a unit of time to invest, shouldn't I pay attention? Shouldn't I consult with an expert time manager to help me decide what to do with it? Maybe I ought to look at previous patterns, study the results, and act accordingly for the future. Maybe I should shy away from a fund that has consistently disappointed me. Maybe I should look for the fund with the magic touch, the fund that has given me return and principal time and again.

Every minute that I spend with selfish activity is usually a minute I will count as wasted down the road. While I am selfishly enjoying myself I am convinced that it's a great investment. Somehow, time and again, I am disappointed. It feels good, it sounds good, it tastes good. But it is always followed by a hangover. The charts show high returns, then they plunge below the edge of my paper.

Spending time with selfless activities might feel boring. Or pointless. Or both. Just like that unattractive 0.6% CD. But for those of us who have tried, for those of us who have planted the seeds, yields are guaranteed.

According to Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the current rate on returns is at 1000%... The Alter Rebbe, as he was known, tells us of an amazing way to get more than 24 hours in a day. For every unit of time that I sacrifice for another person, for a higher purpose, rather than spending it on myself, G‑d guarantees that I will get that time back and some. And a lot more. My mind and my heart will be refined and enhanced. What usually takes me hours to comprehend will be understood in minutes. One thousand to one! Time spent on benign tasks will be reduced, and more of the precious commodity will be available to me. Not guaranteed by the FDIC, just by the Al-mighty.

For the recovering addict, spending time helping others is an integral part of one's own recovery. Chapter 7 of the Big Book of AA is dedicated to "Working with Others." The opening line summarizes the effectivness of doing so. "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much ensure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics."

So as I contemplate my next unit of time, my eyes are on the Selfless Fund. Something tells me it will be a great investment.