Being fifty-something, I’m keeping an eye trained on our nest egg.
Not in an obsessive-check-the-balance-daily kind of way. (I’d have driven myself spare during the GFC.) My effort is more a cursory-steady-as-she-goes-nothing-to-see-here-folks-side-glance.
In fact, it’s a lot like denial.
The economic climate hasn’t been kind to we superannuation holders of late. It’s daunting (and disempowering) to face the reality that retirement will depend on the performance of those figures at the bottom of the statement.
But it is what it is. So I float along in semi-denial most of the time, nurturing all our eggs in a single basket of optimism about the future of the global economy.
Most of the time.
Once a year (just once), I’m forced to face the truth, stare down those demons of dividends, the gruesome gods of global monetary matters.
Yes. Once a year our financial advisor makes a visit.
He always catches me unawares. Surely an entire year hasn’t slipped by again?
I like to call him Sweet FA (he’s a Financial Advisor, he’s a little bit sweet).
Sweet FA arrives at dinner time … he lives not far away so we’re drop-in-on-the-way-home clients.
As always, he’s flustered and blustery. He whips up a frenzy of disquiet in his wake. Like a twister.
He settles (well, he never really settles, more slows rotation) at our dining table and I shoehorn a cup of tea (white no sugar) between him and his intimidating pile of paperwork.
First comes small talk. Sweet FA describes his “ground hog” day; the same-old-same-old-nature of his profession. My inside voice wonders why he does what he does. I keep it inside.
Then the show begins. Sweet FA delivers his monetary monologue. It’s a polished and nuanced performance delivered with practised drama and emphasis.
At double speed. Like when you played your vinyl LPs on the 45rpm setting.
There are questions and answers.
Many questions posed to Sweet FA by Sweet FA (in the third person).
Sweet FA accentuates the answers (they’re all his answers) with penned underlining and circling of data embedded deep within the intimidating pile of paperwork.
Finally, we reach the climax. The game-changer. The why-you-pay-me strategy going forward.
This year it’s two-pronged.
We will switch platforms.
We will tilt our portfolio (which is fine … so long as those eggs don’t roll out and crash to the floor).
Sweet FA stops for breath, shuffles those windswept papers into a large bulldog clip and makes his farewells.
As quickly as he arrived, he’s gone. Like a twister.
Leaving us to digest the details.
We open a red and toast
… to another year of denial
… to a hypothetical retirement.