I've made it pretty clear in the past that financial matters are not my forte. I mean, I can add and subtract for the purposes of my checkbook, preferrably with a calculator because if I make a mistake and have less money than I think I have, I FREAK OUT. But the rest? I don't want to know. Which startles me sometimes because I'm a smarty pants and yes - advanced calculus was at one time something I excelled at. But money isn't just numbers. There's this added something that's kind of shady or nefarious about all of it that I don't like. Money. I'm not saying it's evil. Money is a means to an end for me. It's necessary. But money has this underlying connotation in some instances that it just squicks my wellbeing to think about it.
So I don't.
Until it fucks with me. Well - until Fells Wargo fucked with me. Then I had to pony up to the big girl table and take some much needed action that I've been putting off because I just didn't want to DEAL. First, I opened new checking and savings accounts at a local credit union and closed the ones at Fells Wargo. Then, I got a low-interest loan to pay off my atrociously high interest laden credit card. (The whole reason for this fiasco in the first place. From 6 percent to 16 percent overnight. Jerks.) But then I got stuck. Because I didn't know what to do with my investment accounts. If they were going to be mean to me - a 30 year customer - no WAY was I going to let them play with my money in THAT arena. This had to be a clean break. So, I trotted off to my father who suggested that I "interview" several investment bankers - including the one that he and my mother use.
The first one went well. On the outside, I looked perfectly calm and sane. Asking appropriate questions and the like. On the inside, I was terrified of saying something dumb or looking like an idiot. I tried not to move too much because my hands were shaking and when she left, I burst into tears, but I did it. The next one was over the phone - my mom and dad's advisor. Much better. I could smoke while we were talking. A little on the "fatherly" side, but seeming to really have my best interests in mind and a willingness to explain mutual funds; likening them to the grocery store in a way that actually made some kind of sense. So, I decided to go with him. AND I decided to move my retirement account from the ELCA to him as well. I mean, I hold the church in such low regard today, why would I let THEM play with my money either? I am BREAKING TIES WITH THINGS THAT HURT ME. Go me.
Well. Today was the day. He finally had all my money in hand and we were going to talk about the choices I have at this grocery store and I had to pick who was going to push my cart. (Don't worry, this all makes perfect sense to me.) Now, as an investment banker, he was required to give me choices. I requested that there be no more than two. Anymore and my head would explode; he seemed to take this in stride. But also as an investment banker with his particular company, he was not allowed to tell me which one to pick. What?! Isn't that what you pay them for? So your head doesn't go all, "OMG! NO!" And then spin around 12 times and require an exorcism. He assured me that either choice was a "good" choice, but I had to choose.
So I said, "Well. Is the conversation taped?" And he said, "No. But I have an ethical obligation here." And I said, "Can we play 20 questions? I'm super good at that!" And he says, "No. You really do just have to choose. Either one will be good for you." So, I managed to ask another intelligent question about the cart pushers. Turns out, one of them had lots and lots of groceries to choose from and one had about half. So, I said, "I usually do better with less choices. But the cart pushers, they do this for a living. Maybe THEM having more groceries is better." The man never sighed. He gets like super duper investment banker points for that. Then I say, "I don't want to do this." And he freaks out just a little, thinking I'm ending the whole deal. And I say, "No, no. Just, this whole making choices thing. It makes me hot and my hands are shaking and I'm trying not to cry." And then he says, "Kate. You're going to be just fine. I told you either one is great. Just pick one. This isn't the end of the world." And I say, "Can I do eenie, meanie, miney, mo?" And he says, "If that's what you want to do." And I say, "But that doesn't seem very grown up to do it like that." And he says, "I've worked with people who have done worse." And I laugh and say, "No! I'm going to do this like an adult. I want Anthony! Anthony can push my cart!" And this is where he finally sighs and says, "That is a very, very good choice." And then I burst into tears. They really should give him a bonus for putting up with me.