Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Death of a Financial Planner

Ten years ago, I met my financial planner. He pitched for my Mens Adult Baseball team. He pitched well until his body began to fail him. When he wasn't in a uniform, he dressed like a mafia Don. They guys called him the Ultimate Male. UM was always busy, busy, busy. His deals were big, big, big. At the end of the day, he sold life products. Not sexy, but an honorable gig.

Talking to UM was a struggle at times because it took him forever to make his point. UM was a bright guy. The problem was he always felt compelled to share his wisdom. Always. UM set up my Simplified Employee Pension. Whenever, I would get nervous about the market, he would remind me that I was investing for the long term. Breathing was always a good idea, he gently counseled. To date, his wise counsel has served me well.

After Shrub was elected the second time, our quarterly sessions became harder to get through. I have become less patient with those who actually voted for the Jackass. Last year, I told him to just mail my statements.

A couple of weeks ago, he called, very upset. He was just escorted from his building. Why? UM failed to meet his numbers. Typical termination procedure. It is bad enough to lose your job. The "walk of shame" is really not necessary.

He worked for this brokerage house for 30 years. Like the beautician whose hair looks terrible, he did not plan for his future.

UM never expected to retire. The UM who shared breakfast with me was tired, angry and defeated. For the first time, he looked older than his years. He reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in the "Death of a Salesman."

UM always suggested unemployment is always the fault of the unemployed. He has become one of those people. His career is tied to his identity. A terrible habit by most career types. (Of course, I don't know what that looks like).

Suddenly the UM, spoke of his working class roots. He never spoke of his father before. I think I would have enjoyed meeting him. As a human, I think it is terrible what happened to him. OJ ran to his black roots after he was " persecuted". It amazes me how unemployment prompts people to shed their Republican ideology. In time, UM will discover that he is not defined by his work.

I hope he finds peace and a job.

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