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Where's the day gone?

April 15th, 2018 at 10:26 pm

Today sure flew by; I stayed inside all day as the weather is raw again and overcast.

I had a nurse come to the house this morning to give me a "refresher course" on MS injections. It pretty much confirmed I'm doing it the right way. She's a contract employee of Teva Neuroscience and does this p/t while she works a f/t job at a local internist's office. She was very talkative, maybe a little too much about her personal life, but that's ok.

After she left, I tried once again to make my own granola bars but they fell apart when I tried to take them out of the pan. I may try increasing the amount of peanut butter, which holds them together.

I also potted up 2 very small plants I got from the annual Cacti & Succulent Show yesterday. Brought my father with me but he didn't walk around too much. I brought a lawn chair for him as he tires easily, and perhaps the crowd was too much for him. He said he had trouble seeing the cacti because many were so small. This is really sad to hear as it's hard for me to gauge just how much vision he has left.

The main thing I want to do is keep his spirits up and not let him get depressed. He never complains and doesn't seem prone to depression, but I don't know how he is when I'm not around. He is really a role model for me, though, in the way he stands up to whatever s*** life doles out to him. I don't know too many 85-year-olds who would still be willing to even go to a cacti & succulent show. He has trouble walking and seeing, but he is still game, and I hope that never changes.

So I spent about $36 on 6 different plants including a crown of thorns, another euphorbia, rhipsalis bacrifera, crassula saramtosa (in the jade family), haworthia, etc. I got some very unusual items. Now let's see if I can keep them alive.

I whipped up another batch of granola yesterday and did the laundry today.

Friday was another MS lunch and learn program that was more interesting than usual becus the pharma company that makes my Copaxone couldn't get the slide show to work, so the doctor speaker just ad libbed and answered our questions, mostly. This was much more informative than the carefully scripted slide program that has to go by the book becus it's FDA-approved.

As often happens, I see various people I've become friendly with over the years I've gone to these lunches/dinners, more so lately now that I'm working fewer hours.

I sat with a couple who's always been very friendly. He's about my age, has MS and is on disability. He's ok, but pretty early on he starts acting like we're old friends and he kept giving me these big bear hugs and kind of flirting with me.

His wife is from the Phillipines and is much younger. She's always working a variety of p/t jobs that pay very little. One of them is a marketing survey company. At the lunch she said, Oh, PS, I've been trying to reach you. I'm apply for a new job as a home health aide and I need 3 references; 3 people with MS whom I've taken care of. I said I'd be happy to be a reference and talk about how I met her and what a good candidate I think she would be. She said no, it can't be a personal reference, it has to be a client. Well, she hasn't had any clients and I am not interested in lying for her to get a job. So I just politely said I was sorry I couldn't help her.

Then today she texts me and after a little chit chat, she asks me if I'd like to make $35 doing a survey about chocolate. I said sure, that doesn't sound too hard (tongue in cheek), and then she says ok i just need your full name, address, and email. I gave it to her and then as soon as I did, she said I'm going to do the survey for you so you don't have to drive to such and such. I was a little shocked. And a second later, she's apparently filling out the survey form and she tells me, you have a 15-year-old daughter...I wrote back, please don't do that...then she texted, and you have a son, by which point I said DO NOT do that.

I started panicking, thinking she was taking my identity to do the survey and possibly pocketing a little more than $35.

Her next reply was a little sullen: well ok, but it's such a waste of $35. Why would she care so much if she wasn't somehow benefiting from this? I wrote back that I would call the research facility tomorrow and come in to do the survey. I wanted to gauge her reaction because I realized she could have just gone ahead and completed the survey using my info, pocketed the money and not told me. Letting her know I would call them tomorrow ensured she didn't do that.

I don't really have that much interest in it but I was becoming concerned that this person who I know only very casually could be hijacking my ID details and do this moving forward. So I managed to register with the company (I'd done work for them years ago) and I changed my email contact info.

Friday I also had my one on one consultation with the CFP as a followup to the class. I was a little was mostly a sales pitch for why I should engage his services and there was one part where he sketched out an interesting little chart showing the different buckets for my taxable, tax-deferred and tax-free monies, using separate asset allocations for each, but I noticed he kept that paper when he gave me all the others, as if he didn't want me to use it by myself.

Interestingly, he told me that while the paperwork I'd earlier received from him indicated advisory fees as high as 2.75%, he never charges more than 1.25% (of the total portfolio value). In any event, I have no plans to use his services but didn't say so, so now he's going to call me and I'll tell him then.

I don't like the idea of having to pay a fee every year, regardless of whether the stock market (and my portfolio) had a crappy year or a good one. He would be paid, regardless, and I guess that's what I have a problem with. I think he should EARN his money, not just collect it automatically. So instead of paying a % depending on how much $$ I had with him, why not create a scale where I paid him only if he actually made me money?

Yesterday was a gorgeous weather day and hit low 70s here. I did some more yardwork, but did not continue with my fallen tree branches cus my neighbor saw me working on it and offered to come by with his chainsaw, a huge relief to me. I planned on paying him $50 for the hour, but didn't say so.

He said don't kill yourself, let me do it, it will take just an hour. He said Sat am, and for some reason, he called me on my cell phone, which is never turned on becus i don't give out the number to anyone. So i missed the call. He usually just walks down, and by the time I called him back, he was busy doing other things. He said ok, maybe Sun a.m., but he called me back later and said he couldn't get the chainsaw to start so he couldn't do it. I was very disappointed becus if I have to hire a "professional," it will probably be about $200.

So that's a big mess that will need to be dealt with before it's time to mow, but at the same time, I need some decent weather days when I can move more perennials from the back, where my new patio will be going, before they begin work end of April, probably. So far I have managed to move the baby viburnum and several sedums. I still have a ton of lady's mantle, goatsbeard and alyssum to move.

8 Responses to “Where's the day gone?”

  1. Wink Says:

    Your dad reminds me of my mom. She's 92 and always seems up to trying to go out and do things. I hope I have that same drive as I age!

  2. Dido Says:

    To give you the advisor's perspective (AUM or assets-under-management fees are the norm for most fiduciary providers, whereas broker-dealers operating under the suitability rather than the fiduciary standard typically charge commissions):

    The advisor has no control over the markets, but your advisor should be working regularly on your behalf.

    What the advisor can do is to:

    1. regularly review your asset allocation against a target allocation that has been developed with your risk tolerance (which includes not just your psychological tolerance for risk but your age and employment status and the availability of other assets) in mind and re-balance when there is a discrepancy;

    2. be aware of the general market and make shifts appropriately; for example, favoring short-duration bonds under certain conditions and longer term under others, or shifting some allocation from U.S. to foreign equities when the valuations of different assets changes;

    3. look under the hood at any individual securities and actively managed funds in your portfolio and see whether the managers are doing what the prospectus SAYS the portfolio should be doing;

    4. engaging in various forms of financial planning: tax planning, annual retirement ("financial independence") updates, cash flow planning, insurance and estate plan reviews, educational funding planning if you have kids; executive compensation planning for stock options and deferred compensation if that is relevant. A good financial advisor is the person other than you who sees how all the pieces fit together. Typically your lawyer is not talking to your CPA and vice versa and they are giving you advice from their own perspectives and sometimes this conflicts. A CFP is someone who is most likely to catch this conflicts and notice the gaps in your planning because they are the ones who take a higher perspective view.

    Your advisor should be working for you regardless of how the market is doing and is working a lot harder when there is a recession. Under your proposed compensation scheme, your advisor would NOT be getting paid precisely when s/he is working the hardest. Would YOU take a job like that?

    Like any relationship in the free market, there needs to be a win/win basis.

    Studies by Vanguard and Morningstar point to the existence of "advisor alpha" and show that investors working with an advisor get returns about 3 percent above those of market returns, due to cost-effectiveness in implementation (we get to pay institutional rates, you pay the higher retail/investor rates where there are fees involved); regular rebalancing, having optimal asset allocation and location and being able to make the most tax-efficient decisions when it comes to withdrawal strategies (which investment do you take from which bucket), and being able to encourage appropriate saving, spending, and withdrawal decisions.

    It's THOSE decisions, not the market performance, that can be worth paying for. Whether you value that or think that you can do that as effectively on your own (and whether it's worth the time and energy to spend your time managing your finances) is a decision only you can make.

  3. Dido Says:

    And wasn't yesterday lovely? I'm glad you got out with your dad, sorry you missed the phone call and opportunity to have the neighbor take care of your chainsaw chores.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    I agree, Dido. Of course, if the portfolio does well, the advisor does best since he/she is getting a % of total overall value, but it would be nice to see somehow more incentive for the advisor to proactively manage the acct. Not sure I know how that might happen; it's just that with enough other clients to attend to, I wonder if the acct is kind of put on auto pilot after a while. That being said, I am not constantly looking at my investments either, and of the 4 things you listed, #4 would be most valuable to me.

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    Have you ever considered buying a chain saw. They have some lighter weight ones that are electric (though they still need oil for the blades). You seem to have had trees and branches coming down a lot over the years.

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    I have, LR, but I've always been a little nervous about using one. It might bear looking into again, but last time I checked, those lighter weight electric ones only cut limbs up to about 4 inches in diameter; my trees here are much bigger and even the crabapple is bigger than that.

  7. rob62521 Says:

    Maybe your neighbor will have some other time to come and help you with his chainsaw.

    I'mw wondering about the woman and the survey. It sounds a little fishy. You were smart to stop.

  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I agree, the woman and the survey thing sounds very strange.

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