We are of a certain age where we frequently receive invitations to dinners at nice restaurants hosted by people in suits who would like to advise us on how to financially prepare for retirement.
If that’s not exciting enough, we also frequently receive invitations to preplan our funerals, buy burial plots or consider cremation plans.
What do you do for fun?
Let me just say that even though we have a retirement plan in place, we have been to several of those free financial advisement dinners and what we have learned is this: Italian. Go for Italian. By far, the best meal was at the Italian restaurant. Family style, nice sampling of entrees, interesting people at our table.
We’ve also learned there is a distinct pattern to every interaction with any sort of adviser, and it is this: No matter what question you ask, the answer is, “Excellent question.”
“Could you explain mandatory withdrawals?”
“Do you think we might be better off just burying what money we’ve saved in the backyard?”
We were recently invited to a webcast offered by the company that holds some of our retirement savings to hear what they had to say about the market outlook in lieu of recent volatility. It was a lot of the usual talk about diversifying and balanced portfolios interspersed with a few football phrases like “going long, short runs and long runs.” This was followed by talk about high-yield bonds, government bonds, Barry Bonds and James Bond.
Then they opened it up for questions and anyone could send any question they liked. Of course, every question was an excellent question with a few variations like, “Wow. Great question!” and “Isn’t that an excellent question?”
I typed in questions as fast as I could:
“Where did the woman reading submitted questions get her necklace?”
“Do we get coffee cups with the corporate logo like the ones on your desk? They might help ease the sting of our losses.”
For some reason, my questions weren’t read. Instead, they continued with talk about ranges of outcomes, distribution of returns and chatter about medians, divided medians, roundabouts, and four-way stops or something like that.
I’m not saying they were filling time, but they began talking a lot about “break out to the upside” which I am pretty sure was a hit song by some boy band in the ‘80s.
In any case, they all agreed that though the market is uncertain and will probably continue to be uncertain, yet not even that is certain, they feel good.
Me typing: “Of course you feel good, you have our money. We’d feel good if we had your money. Wanna swap?”
That question wasn’t read either.
My favorite part was where one of the advisers told viewers not to make decisions they would regret without calling them first.
Me typing: “How do you know you’re about to make a decision you’ll regret until after you’ve made it and lived to regret it?”
Excellent question, right?
The bottom line is, nothing is ever certain, but we feel good, too. Why, you ask? Because we’re having Italian for dinner and I’m making it at home.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.