We are going to be distracted for a few days. I'll tell you why later. In the meantime, please enjoy a few more backstory posts. Aren't we lucky that I thought ahead to get pictures?
With our refreshed and more fervent focus, we knew we needed a step by step financial plan to get us there. What do you do when you need a financial plan? We thought maybe we should consult an expert.
Around that same time, I receive a call at the office from Fatpocket Mutual* offering financial advice. “How fortuitous,” I thought. “I am indeed looking for a financial plan!” So, I made an appointment. A few evenings later, we found ourselves tugging open a heavy glass door.
The financial advisor with side-swept thinning hair, a grey suit and flappy cheeks welcomes Andrew with a handshake. “Brother? Oh, no.” I think.
Andrew purses his lips and shakes the man’s hand. Andrew harbors a knee jerk rejection against anyone who tries to call him “brother.” Sidesweep* turns my way and shakes my hand, too. He waves us into his office.
We sit and shoot the breeze about the weather and our recent move to Las Vegas. Then, he gets down to business. “So, you are a Chemical Engineer,” he remarks looking at his sheet and nodding, “…and you are…. a lawyer.” He raises an eyebrow at us. “Great, great. What financial goals are you folks aiming for?”
Folks? 25 year olds are never “folks”.
“We want to sail around the world.” Andrew says.
Sidesweep smirks and just barely stops himself from rolling his eyes. “Yeah, ok. Ok. That sounds like fun. You are sailors?”
Andrew smiles a closed lipped smile and his eyes twinkle, “we are working on it.” The implications of the fact that we are not actually sailors hangs in the air with the weight that silly twenty-five year old plans have when they hang over the head of a forty-five year old man in a suit.
“Well, let’s take a look at the finances involved.” He rotates his computer screen around our way and starts up a program that calculates how much one might need to retire. (The same kind you can find on msn.com/money, yahoo.com/money, or anywhere else with the link "Retirement Calculator.") He inquires as to our current income and types the total into a little box. He inserts an assumed growth rate of income. He inserts our target age of retirement at 55. He inserts the amount of money he thinks we will want to spend in our retirement in 2007 dollars in a figure four times higher than what we actually spend. He inserts the age at which he thinks we will die (105). He pushes the calculate button with flourish.
The rainbow dial on his computer spins indicating it is thinking. A few seconds later, he says…“Yep, you will need about twelve million dollars in retirement to achieve that goal.”
I snort. Andrew just shakes his head.
“It can be done, but you will have to surround yourself with things to remind you of how much you want this dream.” Sidesweep proclaims with a cautionary tone.
I snort again. Andrew scrunches his brow. “No, no. We don’t want to sail in retirement. We want your advice on how best to save to go sailing around age 45.”
Now, it is Sidesweep’s turn to snort. Andrew continues: “We want to sail around age 45 for 3-4 years, then return back to work.” He revises the calculations to retire at age 45, and the number doubles.
“No, no. I want to calculate the best way to work, go sailing, return and work again until about 60 or 65. Calculate it like a sabbatical.”
At this point, Sidesweep cocks his head to the side, “Well, do you know how much it costs to sail around the world?” We look at each other and realize we have absolutely no idea. Isn’t this what Sidewsweep is for, to help us figure something like that out? No, apparently not. Without waiting for our response, he sniffs through his nose and pulls outa folder with insurance options. “Well, no matter your goals, you will need to manage risk and secure your assets. A whole-life insurance policy will help you invest and manage risk all in one product….”
Andrew’s eyes glaze over, as do mine. We wait out the schpille, then head to the door. “Thanks for your time, we’ll let you know what we decide.” We tell him.
“Okay, just remember you have a very aggressive retirement goal, and every day you do not put money away is a day you lose compound interest!”
Yeah, yeah. Thanks, brother.
We are both silent as we walk from the office building to our car. I am fairly new to this money management thing. Could it really be true that we need millions and millions and millions of dollars to go sailing? I got the sense that this man did not hold the same vision of our future that we had. “Surround ourselves with things to remind of our dream?” I say aloud to Andrew. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Yeah, that was stupid.”
*Names changed to protect the innocent.