Back in my early years in the biz, I was friends with this young girl and (apparently) my name came up one time during dinner or something.
Well one thing led to another and she approaches me and asks if I can help her dear old dad.
I said “sure” and we arranged a meeting.
Well, I remember going to the house and sitting down with her mom and dad and it was pretty clear after about an hour of chatting with them that I had my hands full.
They were carrying around a lot of debt, not including their mortgage.
They had lotsa future plans but no real way to pay for them.
Anyway, I told him I’d take on his case and got straight to work.
In those days, I didn’t charge money for cash flow planning or any work that wasn’t related to insurance.
So… after about a week or so, I came back with what I thought was a brilliant plan.
We could pay off all this debt by refinancing the mortgage. It would save them something like $100,000 or something in interest and they would be able to free up $20,000+ a year in debt payments.
… which would go directly into savings and the interest on that savings PLUS the savings would eventually pay off the mortgage faster than they could do it all by themselves.
It was a little complicated to pull off on my end but all they had to do on their end was follow my simple instructions. … which basically meant putting “X” number of dollars here and “X” number of dollars there.
And that’s it. I would make sure the rest got done for them.
Anyway… turns out I real really stoopid in believing this person would follow through with my instructions. And… in about 2 months into it, I stopped hearing from them. They were supposed to check in with me regularly and we had an open line of communication.
And when things stopped, I got a little worried.
Hmmmm. Not returning phone calls.
That’s not good.
So, I start chasing them down (my second mistake).
Come to find out what had happened was… the husband just plain got bored with the plan and decided spending dinero was WAY more fun and interesting than paying down debt and saving money for his future.
Oh, they had rationalizations out the wahzoo.
But when you shuck it down to the cob, it was really about this conflict between living for today verus planning for some kind of far-off, distant, unknowable future.
20 years from now?
How can you even think that far down the road?
Crikey… what good will $1 million or even $10 million do you when you’re 90 and suffering from dementia?
I mean… give me the $50,000 now and let me go have fun with it… amirite?