I had a great meeting with Nathan today. He explained a few very interesting things to me in response to my questions about "the value" of having a financial adviser as opposed to just using formulas and estimators, several of which are available at IBM on the intranet.
I like these distinctions he made:
- Most of the estimators right now are using 2.5% as the inflation rate. However, everything doesn't inflate at that rate, and he knows from our relationship (from doing my finances now for 3 or 4 years, and from the budget data I provide him) that I spend most of my money on things like travel, entertainment, and big gifts for people. The rate of inflation for travel and entertainment type goods and services is more like in the 4% - 5% range, so when he's doing my projections, he uses the higher rate.
- Most of the estimaters use 70% of your current expenses for your projected retirement expenses. I know from the way you live, and what you actually spend where, that that is not appropriate for you, so I use actual numbers, not a "general" number like 70%.
- He presents me funds (or not) based on what he knows about me from the time we've been working together. For instance, today he showed me as an option (he always gives me options) a "Sin Fund" that he thought I might go for. Basically, the fund is made up of tobacco companies, beer companies, gambling companies (e.g. Harrah's), cable companies, movie conglomerates, etc. He said, "For instance, I wouldn't even think of offering this fund as an option for my older, church-going lady clients."
On the way home I stopped at that Hayes Barton restaurant at 5-Points with the killer desserts in it. The "dessert section" was closed -- at 6:00PM on a weeknight, with a sign sitting on the shelf that said, "Open at 11." Not sure if that means 11PM, or 11:00 tomorrow morning. I was put out.
I stopped at Edible Art on Hillsborough Street. The Ben & Jerry's (next door) had tons of folks sitting outside eating ice cream, and a line all the way out the door. I remembered reading in the EAGLE database today that they give away free ice cream away once a year, and today is the day. Glad I didn't have time, and the line was so long, otherwise I would have been tempted.
I went in the back door of Edible Art, which was precariously propped open by the deadbolt. The door slammed against it making a loud noise when I let it go. It was kind of dark in there, and a woman came around and said, "We're closed."
"I need anniversary cake, please!" They had closed at 6:00.
"Let me see if I can sell you anything. We've put all the money away."
"I can pay with a credit card if you'll take it."
"Let me check. Larry!"
"Okay, what did you need?"
I want two slices of your pound cake, one plain pound cake, the other almond pound cake, both with the buttercream icing."
"No problem." Alright!
"Here you go. Is this you one-month or one-year anniversary?" What an odd question I thought; first of all, to limit it to two choices, and second of all to limit it to those two choices. At one point I could have answered, "No, my 16th anniversary," and at another point in my life, "No, my 6th anniversary."
"2nd year," I answered.
"It's my one-year in three days. Me and my partner."
The total was $7.54, which we put on my Mastercard. When she gave me the receipt, I handed her $2, and said, "For you."
"No, no!" she said.
"I insist, you keep it, get yourself a drink."
"Oh, I'll get a glass of wine, then."
During the course of that conversation she pointed out to me that if I ever needed a good dessert again, and they were closed, that the Fresh Market in Cameron Village has some delicious desserts. "That's where I get mine," she said.
Back at the house Robert and I split a (frozen) California Kitchen Pizza, the Thai Chicken one, YUM YUM YUM.
While it cooked, he did a usability test on my website, and I gleaned a few things from it, which I incorporated later in the evening.
We had anniversary cake after dinner with some coffee. YUM YUM YUM.
Robert left and I worked on my website the rest of the night. At about 11PM, Irene came on and she went through several pages of the site. Mostly she criticized the five required IBM slides that I included, which I have no control over, and can't change. They are "required viewing" by IBM corporate. She did give me one gem though, a "What about this?" title change recommendation, which I liked, and incorporated.
I'm in a good place to putting some final touches on this site tomorrow, and turning it in tomorrow night. AMEN.