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  • July 27th, 2009

    Advise and Repent

    Bob Robertson The Dixie Chicks had a well-known comedy song a few years back called “Earl Must Die” and I’ll bet for a lot of the people who gave Earl Jones their life savings only to see all their money disappear, that song might be playing over and over in their heads today. It seems the era of handing your nest egg over to some sweet-talking shyster who calls him or herself a “Financial Advisor” is coming to an end, as it should. This is spoken by someone who has done just that in the past with some disastrous results, although, luckily, I didn’t lose everything I had. And, the problem was and still is, most of us think we don’t know how best to save our money, so we give it to someone who can babble on for hours about  “No-front-load mutual funds”, “Asset-backed securities” or  the “Constant yield method” which I thought had something to do with always letting other drivers cut in front of you. As if being able to say “Bracket creep” makes you a financial genius.

    Yes, I’ve had the financial advisor from hell. If you’ve got a few hours I could tell you about the gold mine investment where we struck gravel. Even after the mine caved in and water filled all the crevices, I briefly considered hanging on to my shares because I pictured a day when gravel would come back as a currency just like it was in Neanderthal times (and people maybe opened a chain of stores called “Everything for a Stone”), but, eventually I let it go and lost…I dunno, some thousands of dollars. I could tell you about the feature film that we were persuaded to invest in. When we met with the creative team, the producer said, “The script is kind of rough but that’s all we’ve wrotten(sic) so far”. I put that (sic) thing in there because the producer was supposed to have said “written” but didn’t actually know anything about grammar, and, not surprisingly, didn’t know anything about producing a movie either. By the way, the film, all about how extras on a movie set get drugged up and die instead of walking on as background people in a street scene…if you think you’ve seen it, you’re wrong. It didn’t get a theatrical release. It didn’t get a TV or DVD release. I think it might be shown in prison film classes on how not to make a movie. I lost…ohhh, maybe the cost of an expensive sedan. I could go on, but I’m already starting to hyperventilate so I’ll stop.

    The moral of the Earl Jones or Bernie Madoff story is pretty simple. You’ve earned all this money, or maybe your wealthy industrialist husband died and willed you all this money. Who are you going to give it to for safe keeping? When you walk into a doctor’s office, you always look on the wall right? Just to check out the diploma. Do the same if you’re in your financial advisor’s office. If the diploma says, “Shoppers Drug Mart Do it Yourself Finance Course”, try somebody else, or better yet, find a spot under your mattress. These days, it’ll give you a pretty good return on your dollar.

       By the way, speaking of Earl Jones, we put together a song that sums up most people’s feelings on our July 24th Double Exposure Radio podcast called “One Night in Point-Claire”. Try it out at http://doublexposureradio.com/podcast.html

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