“The overall mood is hopeful despite the antics of last week’s volatile stock market” announced my financial planner yesterday during a teleconference.
A year and a half into retirement, it was time to review my finances and to make sure that the long-term outlook for my portfolio has withstood the double whammy of withdrawals and economic implosion. I live a comfortable day-to-day life, but there is never anything left over at the end of the month to “save.” After three decades of squirreling my spare change into untouchable accounts, I can’t get my head around not having to save, much less actually tapping those inscrutable accounts for the fun things that retirees are supposed to do.
I am lucky to have had great guidance from Mark Johnson and his associate, Joe Piscione of Bauer Captain & Johnson. Without their strategies and sometimes difficult-to-swallow advice, I’d still be slaving away in hopeless despair at the Post Office.
Joe explained that after their weekly company strategy session, the Associates noted higher than expected earnings from the corporate world. On the down side, high unemployment continues to cast pallor on the hopes for a quick surge.
As this information seeped into my brain, my stomach cramped with the vision of corporate managers squeezing the life-blood out of a reduced work force, while guaranteeing comfortable profits to line their own—and my own—portfolios. I hate that my own financial comfort comes at the misery of workers around the world. I hate that those who actually produce product, must accept diminishing returns for their labor under the threat of layoffs and unemployment.
I know that there are “green” ways to play the investment game. However, the whole investment premise is based on reducing costs—which can only mean squeezing the guys at the bottom—and expanding the profit-margin so that some of us can live in comfort. It’s a premise based on consumption. No amount of green washing changes the fact that we are consuming everything in, on, and around our planet at an astonishing rate and that we are increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
By the end of my teleconference, Joe had assured me that my portfolio is properly positioned to withstand the ups and downs of a schizoid market. I have enough money to live on and, yes, it is okay to spend some of my stash. I suppose I will assuage my guilt by spending more money; be a good American, keep the economy clicking and consuming to provide jobs. That is how we built this nation, right?