My sister’s long term boyfriend decided a few months ago to get a desk job as a Financial Advisor. He is a ridiculously talented Artist yet it’s hard to find a great paying art gig, especially in the Midwest. “Starving Artist” sales weren’t ironically created. If you are an artist in any city other than NY, LA, Paris or London, I’m guessing you’re screwed.
Begrudgingly I agreed to a 1.5 hour long meeting to see what he has to offer in way of financial products and to support him. I love my sister and this was one way I could support them….for free.
At 3 PM I made the 45 minute journey to his office located in an overly priced business location of a “Lifestyle Center”. For anyone that doesn’t know what a lifestyle center is, it’s like a shopping center on steroids with usually indoor and outdoor shops along with even apartments.
I walked in to see S chatting with a co-worker. I suddenly had flashbacks of Wolf of Wall Street, though I didn’t anticipate any Advisors snorting coke off a hooker’s ass thank God.
This was the first time I saw him in a suit and it was borderline weird. This is the guy that wears newsboy caps, jeans and plaid snap shirts. This suit wasn’t him.
S guided me into a small conference room off the lobby. It had 4 plush chairs and a round cherry table. We made pleasantries for a few minutes then he unzipped a leather portfolio that probably was borrowed and pulled out a thick white paper that said CONFIDENTIAL at the top.
“We’ll go over this after I walk you through the financial cycle.” He said as he also pulled out a laminated 8″x 10″ card with what was a flow chart of some sort. My eyes began to glaze over.
He points to the first group of words. “Now this is where you decide what your goals are.” He pointed to the second group of words, “And this is where you make a plan on how to get there. Next you act on this plan,” he said as he pointed to the third grouping.
“I need you to stop right there,” I said holding 1 finger up. He stopped.
“See, here is where you should technically be my 2nd stop on the financial train. Your company, or any other company needs to employ Psychiatrists. You guys can preach this till the cows come home but if I can’t say no to my recent purchase of a gold, Nate Berkus stapler at Target because it’s 20% off, well then it’s all for nothing. I need to learn willpower and impulse control. This will never work.”
My revelation really didn’t lead to anything, just a floating ADD idea. I get a lot of these. After we went through the circle of life, he then focused his attention on the large, CONFIDENTIAL document that I knew would sting like a flu shot.
“Now this is the part no one likes,” he said. ‘You have no idea,’ I thought. Below is a brief outline of some of the questions, how I answered it and how I really wanted to answer it:
Q. Where do you want to be financially at retirement?
Answer in head: I want to be so fucking rich that I can buy whatever I want, whenever I want. Money is no object.
Actual answer given: Oh, good question. What am I allowed to say? Um, well enough money to bury me in the ground. No, mausoleum, mausoleum. It has to be a mausoleum, I’m claustrophobic. Money to put the boys through college and enough money that I don’t have to work part time at Wal-Mart as a greeter.
Q. Do you have student loans?
Answer in my head and actual answer given: Yes but I haven’t paid them in years and I have no idea how much I owe.
Q. Are you healthy?
Answer in my head: I haven’t exercised in 2 years. The only thing keeping me skinny is my anti-cancer medicine and my Ritalin.
Actual answer given: I thought I was healthy till my chance of breast cancer shot up by 400% after the Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia. That is that medicine I have to take for the next 5 years. Remember?
After about 30 minutes of airing my very dirty financial laundry, not to mention I was hangry and it was feeding time, I looked at S and in a very firm and serious tone, I laid out the train wreck before him.
“Look S, I am just trying to get to the point where I open my mail. I operate under ignorance is bliss. Definitely not a healthy approach and this is why I said my first stop needs to be a Psychiatrist. Can I just give you my mail? Can you just open it for me and tell me what I need to do?”
His jaw had dropped half way through my revelation and there was complete silence. I, being the type that hates awkward silence, flung myself back in my chair and whined, “can we just do something like Brittany Spears where you just deal with this stuff and I’m given an allowance or something?”
“I can’t do that.” He said matter of a fact.
“I know, but it’s a nice thought.”