Financial planning

Ah, financial planners. The pinnacle of adulthood and fiscal responsibility. You know you’ve made it when you need to outsource in order to keep track of your towering piles of cash.

But instead of advising us as to whether we should have a money fight or purchase another pool to fill with coins, a la Scrooge McDuck, he laid some hard truths on us.

“You will die. You will get sick or injured. There will be a point in time when you stop working for one point or another.”

He wasn’t a fun financial planner, a pragmatic one though which I suppose is probably better. His priorities were insurance and preparing for retirement. Not particularly appealing to a 25-year-old who’s idea of future planning is what’s for dinner (chips and garlic bread). Partner 2 isn’t much better, his first question was to ask how we could get rich in less than five years.

The poor man, he had a cold, and I could have sworn I saw a jaw tic from holding back sighs and eye rolls. Nonetheless, the consummate professional started assessing our financial situation.

“Not married?” Eyebrows raised. Nope.

“Incomes?” He looked to Partner 2 first who listed off his particulars. Then FP’s tired eyes turned to me.

“Ha, more like income, singular, just one! Ha hahah ha.” Why do I laugh at my own jokes when I’m uncomfortable?

“Well… um, my situation is that I quit my jobs that I loved to come here. So my income… It’s been an adjustment. I’m freelancing but that’s… well, you know how it is!”

He didn’t. He looked sympathetically at Partner 2 while I squirmed.

“But I’m doing a PhD next year!” I blurted, desperate to redeem myself in the eyes of this complete stranger. He smiled politely and turned back to Partner 2 to discuss investment options.

The conversation proceeded without me, so I picked at my fingernails. I refuse to acknowledge equity because it’s not real money, I don’t know what a hedge fund is and long-term planning short circuits my brain.

Left to my own financial planning, I thought about what I needed. You know what there should be? Arsehole insurance. Not literally, unless you have an especially valuable behind, like Kim Kardashian I suppose…  But insurance for the less-financially stable partner just in case the relationship doesn’t work out and the arsehole leaves you with absolutely nothing.

Insurance premiums can start high for those in new relationships, if you’ve been together a week it’s going to be more expensive than if you’ve been together for 10 years. There could be excess amounts dependent on age. He crashed your car? Well, he is 23 so there’s going to be a gap. Shared and individual assets make things more complicated. In the case of a break-up, you will receive a pay-out dependent on the aforementioned factors and break-up circumstances as determined by our independent assessor.

This is not to say that Partner 2 and I are having problems, as much as this may sound like it! We are very happy, sickeningly so if we were to post about it on Facebook. I just got to thinking about this after the financial interrogation. You feel quite vulnerable knowing that you rely completely on another person, if he were to up and leave I would have nothing. I’d be deported, he’d get the cat because I couldn’t afford to bring her home, and I’d have to move back in with my parents. Yikes. I know there’s the whole love factor or whatever, and that he depends on me for things too, but it is quite disconcerting to think about.

So I’m going to go ahead and trademark this idea and start working on some concepts for daytime TV commercials. Funeral insurance ad, life insurance ad, Murder She Wrote, arsehole insurance ad. Hey, only 63 shopping days left until Christmas? This could be the best passive-aggressive gift yet!

“Gee, thanks Mum…” *rewraps to hide from boyfriend.*

“You can never be too careful, dear.” *Knowing smile and wink at the camera.*

The irony being that I would have to request this from Partner 2 for Christmas because I have no money…  Until Arsehole Insurance ™ takes off!

Guilty measures

Guilt is such a waste of an emotion.

Not studying enough guilt, not working out guilt, not working hard enough guilt, not seeing my friends enough guilt, not eating healthy enough guilt.

It’s pervasive and destructive, and just so unnecessary.

I’ve been given a bit of insight into my own guilt-enabling behaviour the last few days. Partner 2 has been at work so I’ve been left to my own devices. I’ve been productive, really! Not living the taitai* lifestyle just yet. I’ve been studying, I’ve been writing, I’ve been exercising, I’ve been getting out and exploring. I’ve got a schedule and everything!  But when I put the TV on yesterday afternoon to watch while I ironed partner 2’s shirts (!!), I had the niggling feeling that I really should have done more work on my thesis, and that I should have worked out for longer, and that I shouldn’t have eaten that muesli bar, full of sugar.

This is getting out of hand. Naturally, I turned to Dr Google, entering symptoms and awaiting the diagnosis with baited breath. Middle-class guilt, Catholic guilt, toxic guilt. Gasp! Imposter Syndrome! That most dreaded first world affliction! Further “research” found (long, heartfelt, story complete with overly emotive language made short): people feeling like they don’t deserve to be where they are in life.

I’m going to have to call bullshit on that one. Sorry Doctor, I’m suing for malpractice. I’ve worked hard to get here, partner 2 has worked hard to get here. I’m in a position where I can pursue what I love full time and try and eventually make money out of it. Yes, I’m lucky I have a wonderful supportive partner who is happy to trot off to the office and bring home the bacon while I tinker around with my writing. That said, I’ve worked hard to save up enough money so that our current expenses aren’t eating in to his pay packets just yet.

Aaand now it sounds like I’m having to justify myself. See? Vicious cycle. We work hard and hope for some luck: they right opportunities, the right place, the right time.  But when it all falls into place, we feel guilty about how it happened and feel obliged to work even harder to prove ourselves. It’s bizarre that we cross our fingers for luck but then when our numbers come up, we feel as though we should have crossed them harder or still be crossing them.

This is one of those things, I suspect, that has an underlying feminist discourse at the heart of it, but this post is already too long and ranty.

This is official declaration of hard-line sanctions against:

  1. Feeling guilty**
  2. Not <insert verb/adjective here> enough.
  3. Should: as in “I should really….” Nope. No. If you want to, you will. Not should.

*That’s a whole other post!

**Unless I’ve caused someone harm that they did not deserve. Then you’re just being mean, stop it.