July 9, 2008

Chapter VIII-4/5: Thinking about the R-word

Pat (my wife) and I have been talking about retirement for probably 10 or 11 years.

We've cussed, discussed, dressed, addressed and undressed all sorts of plans for what we do or do not want to do when we lock our office doors -- or in her case, vacate the cubicle -- for the last time and shuffle off into geezerhood. We had created a pretty definite set of wanna-dos we planned to pursue in retirement.

Then, about three years ago, it hit me: We were making all these plans and had absolutely no earthly idea if they were doable! So we went seeking some help. A financial advisor is what we needed! Someone who could wave his or her magic wand and make some of the uncertainty vanish!

We called what was then, if I remember correctly, American Express Financial. It had been the company that managed our 401-k at work and had seemed to have done a pretty good job. They assigned us a 23 or 24-year-old kid, well-intentioned and smart enough, but still wet behind the years. Patmywife laid back her ears, hissed loudly at him and glared. I could tell right away she didn't think much of him.

He ran away. Not right away, but by our scheduled third meeting. The financial company wanted to assign us another kid, but we held out for an advisor almost as close to geezerhood as us. We did the right thing. At least, it feels right so far.

But if the wheels come off. we can always dance....