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Speed Dating for Financial Planning?

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A week or so ago a handful of members of our Financial Planning Association chapter, including me, were on local TV, fielding questions from viewers. It was a phone bank kind of thing and extremely enjoyable. Short shots of us talking on phones were shown with a “call-in” phone number periodically during the newscast, Our Q and A sessions were not broadcast.

During the 90 minutes we were working — a timespan that covered two newscasts — I had six or seven callers with interesting questions. One wanted to retire in five or six years, had some dollars saved and wanted to know how to best arrange his current 401(k) for the plan. Another had inherited $15,000 and wanted to arrange it for safety and use. (After some discussion, she thought the idea of dividing it into thirds might work — with the first third being very conservative, the second a bit more adventuresome and the final perhaps in a mix of lower-risk mutual funds like James Balanced: Golden Rainbow, SIT, etc.)

Participation was anonymous — strictly first name — for it was about financial planning, not about the individual chapter members, and I think the anonymity was what made it work so well. It got me to thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to have a date night for financial planning. You know about date nights, right? You have five minutes with Person X, and then a bell rings or a horn sounds, and you change tables and spend five minutes with Person Y. Okay, with my new idea, one could have, say, 20 financial planners and 20 people and play the same game, except that potential customer couples would count as one. It could be a fun and easy way for some of the sting to be removed from what might seem, to some potential customers, a scary process.  

My ideas don’t always work. Ask anyone and they will tell you that some of my ideas don’t make sense. Especially ask my wife, who is still reeling over my discovery of long fishlike structures that must be inside the forearms and have the ability to cause carpal tunnel syndrome.  

With the exit of Labor Day and the start of school, summer, in many ways, ends, but nice weather hopefully continues in most of the country. Have a wonderful week, and think up new ways to take the sting out of financial planning. Or, put in another way: Carp Diem, which I think translates loosely to seize the fish.