Monday, April 16, 2012
It's Good To Be Rich.
OK, by name only. It's an old joke that always comes up at parties, business meetings or any function that requires an introduction.
And while I'm not cruising the freeways in a Bentley or teeing off with my custom-fitted TaylorMades at the Beverly Hills Country Club, I am rich in family, friends and health. Did I just write that? Soon I'll be penning blogs for some touchy-feely Venice Eggplant and Tofu Co-Op.
The truth is, it's difficult to write about money.
It's hard to even talk about it.
Last week, after 15-20 years of procrastination, I finally sat down and talked with a financial advisor at Charles Schwab. I had to divulge every detail of my financial life. This was very awkward considering that 5 minutes prior to walking in his office, this man was a total stranger to me.
But he had an MBA, he wore a nice white shirt and tie and his office was well over 400 square feet.
Large enough in fact, that he could situate his desk in a kitty-corner position. I don't know about you, but to me that says success.
Then my real financial ignorance began to show.
He asked how I had decided to pick the mutual funds I had bought into in the early nineties. I confessed to being a victim of my own occupation and that I was easily swayed by packaging and the power of a good brand name. Morningstar ratings be damned, I told him, I'm a sucker for funds like Windsor, T. Rowe Price and J.P. Morgan.
Names that wreak of old 19th-century gentile money. Names that conjure up images of industrial magnates with top hats, fat cigars, and short-skirted French Maids.
He rolled his eyes and started looking over my financial statements and the returns of my measly investments. I'm pretty sure at this point he was thinking to himself, "This half-Jew, half-Scot could be the most financially-inept man in the world. And could single-handedly debunk the myth of Worldwide Jewish Banking domination."
Then he scooted in closer to his desk, adjusted his glasses and began to roll up his sleeves.
Which I took to be a very encouraging sign.
(UPDATE: For the record that is not my wife and I in the picture above. I don't own any grey board shorts.)