Little Chickens – Part Deux

Another day in The Park.   i’m drinking.  Just a little… Ok.  Perhaps a little bit more than a little…

Time for Momma’s check up with her smokin’ hot sex kitten of a cardiologist today – which went very well!  The painfully gorgeous Dr. M pronounced Mom heart-healthy, and as always, took time to chat with her, tell her how beautiful she looked, and generally fussed over her*.   All’s well in Cardio-Town!

Then it was off to the bank to rock the markets.  Last week, Mom mentioned that her “investment fund”-based retirement account was performing terribly, and that the balance had dropped from $90K in 2005 to about $60K this week.  She’s been losing sleep over this, and given dire predictions about the continuing recession, she wanted to move it all out and put it in lower risk certificates of deposit (CDs).

i advised her that it might make sense to let it ride – that we were either at, or approaching, bottom and that with a couple years patience, it would possibly recover.  That, and the fact that there is nowhere else to put it to grow, the best she could hope for was to cut her losses.  She went to the bank in November, intending to cut losses on this account.  At that time the value was around $77K.  She was angry with the financial advisers who talked her into letting it ride as the market continued to plummet.  When i suggested that given two years, it would likely stabilize Mom – now 80 years old – reminded me that she might not have a couple years…

She informed me that she’d spoken with my sister, T – the business professor – earlier in the week, and that T had advised her to pull her money from all investment funds.  Not only that, but to hide at least a years worth of cash in her mattress.  T, of course, has solid connectivity to several economics professors, and their predictions were apparently dire.  Seemed like pretty grim advice** to me… and it surprised me that T would take such a position.  But she’s the one in the know…

Against intuition, i steeled myself to do battle with these financial bullies.  She wants to cut her losses and rest easier.  My job was to let them know that by giving her shit advice, the poor woman was losing sleep, and it was affecting her health… i even considered smudging some mascara under her eyes to enhance the impact.  Momma wanted her money out of the market.  She was counting on me to get it done…

We went through a similar panic drill last summer.  Mom was reassured about her investments – which were fully insured by the FDIC should the banks go tits up.  She’s repeatedly told me that she’s counting on me to provide financial advice, since i’m the only functional member of the family i have durable power of attorney.  But it seemed that all she really wanted today was back-up – her mind was made up.

We arrived at the bank.  My brain cells began to escape my skull via my earholes within 10 minutes… 

The first revelation from the finance manager?  Mom has withdrawn cash from this account for 3 years.  Almost $20K in equal quarterly disbursements.  Momma kinda failed to mention this… She’d been using this retirement account – which was set up as her long term nest egg – to augment her pension and pay her monthly bills.  That’s fine, but it certainly affects the “loss math” just a touch.  She’d only lost about $10K over 3 years.  Not great, but i have friends who can blow that much in a single night at the black jack tables and booby-bars in Vegas.

My second surprise?  The financial manager asked why she was liquidating her “long term” IRA, while leaving her low-interest money market CASH account untouched.  The one with an assload of money in it.  Earning perhaps 1% interest.  Which i had never heard about until today.  He also mentioned the large sum in mid-term certificate of deposits…

daisyfae:  Momma?  i didn’t know about these accounts… Ummm…that sort of changes the situation a bit.

Mom:  Well, i don’t want anyone knowing where all my money is… You can’t really trust anyone these days.

daisyfae: [steam slowly escaping from ears and nostrils, with lip firmly clenched between teeth]  Momma, if i don’t know what you’ve got, i can’t give you good advice, now can i?

Going over the math several times, it became clear that with the cash account, she’ll have 10 years of withdrawals at her fingertips.  And adding in the CD’s?  Another 10 years.  That gets her to 100 years old – so long as her expenses don’t increase dramatically.  i helpfully pointed out that if you pretend like the long term stuff isn’t there?  She’s still fine!

In fact, she should probably up her spending!  The goal is for her last check to bounce.  i even helpfully suggested that she needed to spend more time at the regional casinos, and consider hiring a hot male stripper/nurse to attend to her needs. 

At the end of the day came my favorite revelation.  As we settled in the car and headed off for some grocery shopping, she lobbed this little offhand comment at me:

Mom:  Well, I sort of wondered if T was drunk when I talked to her last week.  You know how she gets really loud, and swears a lot when she’s been drinking?

daisyfae: [sound of head exploding goes here]

it's very difficult to drive when your head explodes.  makes talking on a cellphone look like a cakewalk...

It's very difficult to drive when your head explodes. Makes talking on a cellphone look like a cakewalk...

*This is why i absolutely adore Dr. M…. Not just because she is stunning and smart.  Really.

** and completely out of alignment with any advice i’ve gotten from wealthy smart friends….

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29 thoughts on “Little Chickens – Part Deux

  1. ginny – albeit a headless woman this morning. thank you. AAAAAAAAAAAARGHHH!

    nursemyra – glad to be of service. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGHHHH!

    kyknoord – may attempt this. should my head re-grow. BLEEEEAAAAAAAARGHHHH!

  2. bleee – aren’t momma’s the best? speaking of which, i’m trundling off to visit the entire family for the first time in 6 years in a few weeks – i’m not even THERE and the drama’s started.

    love your blog, btw. we crossed paths via manuel a loooong time ago – ’bout the time i fell off the face of the earth.

  3. Ha ha haaaaaa. Same story with mine. Mom and Dad have lots of debt and a house which (prior to the collapse of the market) was worth a shitload of cash. “Sell it, downsize, settle debts, live off the (considerable amount of) leftover cash,” I helpfully suggetsed ten years ago.

    “Oh, we couldn’t do that: That’s your legacy. That’s what we leave you in the will.”

    “SO let me get this straight: You worry yourselves sleepless, make youselves sick through stress, work youselves to an early grave, and I get the house (minus, of course, the debts that have to be settled from the estate anyways)? I don’t want the fcking money, if it comes that way!”

    “Fine, we’ll leave it to charity.”

  4. Ah yes the don’t trust anyone–My 88 yr old step grandmother had a house built last year–YES last year–against her Dr’s advice and entire families advice. Now Aunt had to leave her home in VA just to live w/ her because everyone is afraid she will fall(per numerous times in past) and be dead and no one will know. Nice very nice–there went my inheritance.. yep builder did it for her and bank gave her a mortgage at 87yrs old…apparently such irrational decisions don’t qualify you for being senile

  5. Yeah, I guess it’s a lot easier with my family’s old people.

    The financial management consists of changing the oil in the Massey and cleaning the old rifle. I am really worried about the day I have to start talking to my mom about money management. We already have to talk about her text messaging charges.

  6. dolce – WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? You can’t drink during the day? AAAAARGH! That’s insufferable! The cruelty! The inhumanity….

    daisy mae – glad you’re writing again! i found you during your ‘quiet’ period – but will have you on the blog roll next update! we need more She-Geeks out here! as for the family? liberate some valium from the ol’ pharmacy, or just practice Scream Therapy – whenever they speak, just start SCRRRREEEEEAMING! It feels good!

    stephanie – no, the other obvious side effect is that i can’t stop with the HOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWLING inside my head! MUST SING LIKE YOKO ONOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    unbearable banishment – she meant me. she meant everyone. she also mentioned in the car that she specifically doesn’t want the others to know because she’s afraid THEY’LL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HER!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH…..

    Derek – Ah, they truly are so responsible, this generation before us… don’t want to be dependent, want do do right by us! I WISH MOM WOULD MARRY A 30 YEAR OLD BOY-TOY AND MOVE TO VEGAS! AAAAAARGH! Spend it bay-beeee!

    uncle keith – They’re watching me. That would explain the snickers from the guys in the video room at the bank yesterday — when my eyeballs were rolling at about 60 rpm inside my head when i realized that she’s got enough money to subsidize EIGHT FUCKING CRAZY MOMMA’S….

    hisqueen – i dunno! i think your grandmother is on the right track! she earned it, she saved it, if she wants to blow it on sex and drugs and rock and roll, that’s pretty cool… i keep telling mom to spend it all — AND SAVE ME THE HEADACHE OF SORTING ALL OF IT OUT WHEN SHE’S GONE! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    casey – don’t your kinda folk just wander off into the back forty to die when they’re tired? i still pay for mom’s internet access — DIAL UP — just in case she might want to get on line one of these days and see what everyone is up to…. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

  7. Pingback: The Family Meeting « Silverstar’s Magical Adventures (and assorted rants)

  8. daisy mae – y’all work with critters and germs. that takes a whole different kind of dedication… and at least i’ve stopped that pesky screaming today…

    KJ – she’s not happy unless she’s got something to worry about. i’ll be checking in shortly to see what the “freakout du jour” is…

    alex – i’m hoping she spends every last dime. not only will it make my job easier, it’s her money and she should enjoy it! probably would hack off a few of the others, though… there are big screen tvs and boats to be purchased, damn it!

    silverstar – a good nights’ sleep a few thousand miles away did the trick. the air in colorado is nicer… cleaner… and i suspect there’s less of it up here!

    archie – she’s a hard core deep science daisy-in-training! i like “Daisy Posse”. Very much!

  9. Daisy- Depends on where in Colorado. Some of the resort towns, nice and clean. Denver, however, is famous for its brown cloud. It had me coughing the whole time I was there. Breathe that mountain air.

  10. daisyfae,

    Cool story! Your mom sounds like a neat girl. You might want to look into a time annuity for her or for you to help her when she gets older.
    This would offset some of the taxes if they are owed.
    Usually they are guaranteed with excellent interest by the insurance company.
    If I make it to 80 and I want to build a new house or blow it all on some hookers I will! ….Provided the wife doesn t mind.

  11. silverstar – c-springs was lovely. maybe that brown thing out the window of the plane was denver…

    kevinjohn – she’s in very good shape. has sufficient short term (10 years) and mid term (20 years) cash that she can live beyond her current standard of living without worrying about the long term stuff. and if she makes it to 100? we’re going to throw one hell of a bash! hell, i’m thinking we’ll throw one for her at 85, 90, 95… just to be sure she gets to throw down!

    crying bull – that’ll be a story we should discuss over beer sometime. is your blog ready for prime time yet? c’mon! we wanna read!

  12. I’m so afraid to ask my mom about what exactly is going on with her. Don’t. Wanna. Know.

    I can live indefinitely in a state of denial.

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