Recently, I have received numerous complaints from regular subscribers to the prestigous "Let Go Journal" about the lack of new articles. Several have even threatened to cancel their subscriptions. My editorial skills have been somewhat stifled by interuptions for financial planning, real estate adventures, and getting my summer wardrobe laid out. I'll explain these in order. Once you understand, the complexities of the first two issues, you will understand why I have been so remiss in writing and started to focus more on my summer wardrobe.
Let's go ahead and start with financial planning. Knowing that I am a Certifed Public Accountant, many of you may have expected that I have a well thought out financial plan for retirement. Actually, this is not the case. My plan has been to work and try to save some money. So basically, when you retire from IP they send you to a really good financial planner. So here's how that goes.....
Financial Planner: So, Mike, what are your long term financial goals?
Me: My long term financial goal has always been for my last check to bounce.
Financial Planner: Seriously, Mike, what are your goals?
Me: I was serious, but if I need to add more detail, I'd like to have food to eat everyday, a roof over my head, and enough spare change for beer.
Financial Planner: OK, Mike let's approach this another way. How much was your annual income at International Paper?
Me: It was a pretty big number - I think. $xxx
Financial Planner: OK, good. Now we're getting some where. You'll need 60% of that to live on when you retire.
Me: How'd you get that number? I think I'll only need 30% of that.
Financial Planner: Laughing.....I got my number based on statistical information, how did you get your ridiculous number?
Me: First, when I was making that big salary at IP, the government took about 35% of it in social security and taxes. 100% - 35% = 65%. So for starters, I was only getting 65% of the money that I worked for anyhow. Secondly, to work at IP, I have had to own two houses, one down in Texas and one up here....that cost me another 20% of my salary. So now I am down to 45%. Finally, I have been putting savings away of 20 % of my salary for the last 10 years. That takes me down to 25%. I guess, that my figure was wrong. I really only need 25% of my income that I had at IP. If I go ahead and pay off my car - I'd only need 20%.
Financial Planner: Most financial planning experts say you need a minimum of $2,000,000 in the bank to retire.
Me: How did they get that number? I don't know anybody who is retired that has that kind of money.
Financial Planner: Mr. Roberts, are you trying to be difficult?
Me: No, I am trying to understand. How do most people retire if they don't have the $2 million?
Financial Planner: Some of them have to work till they croak. Some of them only have social security. Some of them have to live with their children.
Me: Yikes, I don't have any children. I guess, mi casa es bajo el puente.
Financial Planner: What does that mean?
Me: I learned it from some of my Mexican friends; it is Spanish, it means "my house is under the bridge."
Financial Planner: Damn, Mexicans - you know the illegal immigrants are part of the problem with health care.
Me: I'd advise you sir, to lay off talking about my friends; unless you'd like to see how good your dental coverage is.
Financial Planner: Ok, let's change the subject. Now about Medical Coverage.
Me: OK. I guess we finished the first part?
Financial Planner: Let's just say, we'll come back to that. What about medical insurance?
Me: Well, I have got Cobra right now.
Financial Planner: That will only last 6 months, then you'll need affordable medical insurance.
Me: That would be nice.
Financial Planner: Do either of you have any pre-existing conditions?
Me: Well, I don't. But Nancy has a vascular problem.
Financial Planner: Sorry to hear that, Nancy will be uninsurable.
Me: How come?
Financial Planner: She is too high of risk, and the insurance companies don't want to have to pay for all of the surgeries and medical care she may require.
Me: How convenient, they offer insurance to me and I don't really need it - Nancy really needs it and can't get it. Maybe this is why some people say there is a health care crisis.
Financial Planner: Well, you should be thankful we don't have socialized medicine like up in Canada. You have to wait weeks for treatment.
Me: You're right, by God. We don't have to wait here for treatment, since we know we aren't going to be able to get it or afford it. Maybe someone will realize that all Americans need affordable health care.
Financial Planner: For now I'll try and get you on a group policy. Let's move on and talke about long term care.
Me: OK, what about it?
Financial Planner: Well if, heaven forbid, you have a stroke or something like that, LTC would cover you for up to two years.
Me: Heaven forbid is right!!! So I get to go to a nursing home and drool on myself and crap my adult diapers for a couple of years. And you're company would be kind enough to pay for it. What happen's after that?
Financial Planner: Well then, maybe Medicare or Medicare would take over.
Me: Nice. So I can keep on drooling on myself and crapping in my diaper - and the government gets to pay for it. That's somewhat satisfying, don't you think.
Financial: Probably. Mike, we all get old and we have to prepare for it.
Me: I think Nancy and I are going over to Bass Pro and complete our financial planning.
Financial Planner: Bass Pro doesn't do financial planning.
Me: I think they have everything we need to cover us - at least on Medical Coverage and Long Term Care - you know "we all have to prepare for when we get old" and I think Bass Pro is our best bet".
Financial Planner: How do you figure that....
Me: They sell very nice Colt Pistols; I think 45 caliber should do the trick. We'll get an extra box of shells. All together - we might spend $1000. Then when we get too old and sick, we'll just bust out our Colt 45 and finish the job. By the way, the people at Bass Pro are a lot happier and enthusiatic about life than you Mr. Financial Planner. Let's go Nance, maybe we'll pick out a nice fishing boat while we are there.
Financial Planer: Well at least you'll want to check out our "Last Will and Testament Services" and our burial policies.
Me: and the horse you rode in on!!!
Coming soon, summer wardrobe edition.
All the best,