Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Random thoughts

I'll agree, the dog picture is disturbing. I'm thinking of taking it down. I laugh every time I see it, but maybe that's because I am totally warped and my sense of humor is perverted. It's not a real dog, or even a real image. Does "Photoshop" say anything to you?

I think every woman I have shown that dog to has had the same reaction... (Gasp), "Oh, that's horrible..." or some derivative of that. I guess the eyes are pretty creepy. Maybe that's why I like it.

I heard from an old Coast Guard buddy this morning. He raised an interesting question. We had such close friendships back then with so many people. As we have gotten older the number of close relationships has dwindled to just a few here and there. Even last night, I was talking to my wife:
Linda: We don't have any friends... no one ever comes over.
Me: I know, we suck, don't we?
Linda: Well, Ray came over today, I guess he's a friend. And Lori is beginning to visit regularly. Maybe we'll get to know each other better.
Me: I guess we don't suck that bad.
Not to mention the house full of people we had Sunday that devoured a 10 lb. brisket, 1/2 gallon of potato salad, beans, sausage, 2 salads, an entire cheesecake, foccacia bread, a gallon of tea, and a whole industrial decanter of coffee... maybe we do have friends.

I came in to work early this morning because I had a 9:00 telephone appointment. The person never called me. They made such a fuss over needing to talk to me and get their investment going... it is a 401(k) from the previous employer. I like hearing "401(k)" and "rollover" because it usually means someone is moving one of their biggest assets, which results in a substantial sale, and consequently, a good commission. I found out in the initial interview that this was $500. At my HIGHEST commission tier, I would make $10 on that sale. Don't get me wrong; $500 of a person's retirement, especially if that's all they have, is just as important as a $500,000 retirement. I treat everyone with the same respect, and I work just as hard for a $500 sale as a $500,000 sale. It just seems like the $500 folks don't keep their commitments like the $500,000 people do.... generally speaking, of course.

I came in dressed in a pressed white dress shirt and a tie. I rarely wear a tie anymore. The clients that come in to my office are primarily military, not the pretentious bigshots I used to have call me at my last firm. Most of my clients are pretty down-to-earth, and some have managed to accumulate some significant wealth over their careers. Lots of people talk about the low pay that soldier get, but it comes down to a few principles I have learned and taught over the years: discipline yourself to spend less than you make, save a portion of your income, and invest another portion. In the end, it's not about how much you make, it's really about how much you keep. I had a prospect once who made $400,000 annually, lived in a $1MM home, had 6 cars, a $600 a month water bill to keep his lawn green and his pool full, and he didn't have a nickel saved. In fact, he was paying out $500-600 a month in overdraft fees to his bank. Contrast that with the couple I had making $30,000 annually and had managed to save $50,000. Big difference.
Anyway, the reason I wore a tie today is because I have to go to another funeral this afternoon. The lady who lived across the street from us died Saturday. I didn't really know her very well, as we have only lived there for a little over a year, but we were always on friendly terms and would talk when we were out in the front yard. I'm going to make it a point to get to know my neighbors better.

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