Commencement

My daughter is about to graduate from her first year of pre-school, and since I won’t be asked to make a speech after they sing their songs, I thought I would do it here. Well, this speech isn’t for pre schoolers, but the parents and grandparents who are trying to navigate this kooky time we are in. Note: the picture is of the flowers on our mantle when we were married ( in our living room).

The NY Times reported Wednesday that the SEC has officially barred Bernie Madoff from working in the securities industry. Now, are they sure they aren’t rushing into this?

Granted he was arrested Dec. 11th 2008 for operating the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of the US, probably the world, but are they sure?  This kind of news piece gives bureaucracies their bad name for being large bloated, ineffective piles of doo.  And not just the SEC which was suppose to look out for Madoff’s to begin with.  oops, missed that one.

I don’t know if you feel like I do-since I’m a VOB ( victim of Bernie), but I feel a bit stymied about what to do with the savings I still possess and what to do with money that I hope will be coming my way one day.

Real estate, hmm, I own a money pit investment property.

Stocks… what would you buy?  One has to be super sharp for that and watch it minute by minute.  Index funds, we all lost on those.

Bonds… should it still be 30% of your portfolio?

Muni bonds, conservative, but not FDIC insured.

Okay, then savings account, but the interest is so low it doesn’t add up to the time and value of money.

Which also can cancel out..

The mattress.

Diversification!  Ah, how much, where?

I have one friend who uses a financial manager, but they take 5% of your gross.  One would have to make some decent change to part with that.  And don’t we sometimes read about those guys being small time Madoff’s ? Not only for bloated rock stars.

My dad said to me recently “people don’t realize how hard it is to manage wealth.”  Which is why I think he will get the last laugh since he had a county job for over 30 years. He retired with a 110% pension plus medical.  He never owned a yacht, but he won’t be eating cat food in his golden years.  In fact he eats too much.

Like so many things in the entertainment business people’s success is partly about luck.

There was an interview with Clarence Otis jr, CEO of Darden restaurants ( they own Olive Garden, Red lobster) in NY times business page the other week.  He was asked about career advice.  He said,'”..it’s not about planning it. Things are too dynamic;there’s too much going; there are too many things that’ll pop up, good and bad.” “…it’s about preparation and building skills. and if you do that, then you’ll recover  from  the mishaps, and you be able to take advantage of the opportunities.”

This line spoke to me with what my family is going through now and I thought it might hit for some of you.  I thought we were set.  I had planned to live in our home for 30 years.  But, fortunately, my husband and I are still prepared to work and have skills.  So true about things being “dynamic”.  Think how quickly technology has changed?  If someone told me a couple years ago I’d be blogging I would have thought they were talking about flogging with lisp. And I was never into S and M so I would have been confused.

So, the moral of the story is, we can’t over plan.  That’s why when we camp our car is packed to the rafters, cause you never know. And call me a militia men, but don’t count on someone else to police where your funds are.  It’s not like we live in a failed state, but as my hero Frank Sinatra use to say:

Be Aware, Always Be Aware.

7 thoughts on “Commencement

  1. Nicely put Daph.

    And might I add, I don’t ever remember a pre-school graduation speech that used the term S and M before!

    Always a pleasure reading your rants.

  2. Wise words, Daphne. One must ALWAYS be prepared to work. And no one person should shoulder the entire responsibility of financially supporting the family: all must do. Because you must always be prepared and ready to work. Keep your skills and accreditation up, keep your networking up, let people know what you do, in case something ever comes up, so will your name.

  3. Great post. It resonates with so many people right now. I’m in the midwest and am a laid off housewife (no, not the I now have a maid and nanny kind… the I stayed home and hubby was laid off 3 months ago kind). Thinking about this really being a commencement for preschoolers got me wondering… What did you say to Viv? We struggle with how much to say to our almost 5-year-old. I don’t want him to worry about things that are beyond his control, but I struggle to explain things in terms that are appropriate for him.

  4. well, I tried honesty one day and she just tuned me out.. it was too much. So I said, “well, we want a smaller house. we want to be closer to each other.” I don’t want her to feel unsafe. I always talk at bed time of all that we have, not what we don’t.

    My 11 year old nephew got it and he vowed to become a lawyer when he was older and go after Madoff. Bless his heart.
    I’m sorry you have to go through this.

  5. Daphne, 5% is an awful lot to charge. There are reputable companies with well-trained advisors, who can help to manage your money & diversify you appropriately for less than 5%. A good FA will sit with you and figure out what your short term needs, and long term goals are, and develop a plan that meets those needs. It is also important to discuss with them ways to help your children via 529 accounts – as there are several beneficial ways to set them up. Email me, if you’d like.

    I’m really very sorry that your family was vicitimized by the Madoff scheme, and that your recourse is so limited due to the “feeder” issue. It just sucks. Plain and simple. Keep working through your gried – it is all so very understandable.

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