• September 2, 2017
  • Bob Quinn
  • General

Michael clearly remembers his first meeting with his financial adviser.

The adviser asked Michael about his goals, about what his retirement would look like.

Michael answered that it was very clear to him what he wanted.

His goal was to buy a 40-foot yacht which would be moored at Baltimore Harbour.

“Nice,” said the adviser, “And what else can you tell me about this yacht?”

“She is light blue and white,” replied Michael, “And gleaming.”

“I see“, said the adviser, “Anything else?”

“She has plenty of space on deck and below – there are eight berths on her,” replied Michael without a moment’s hesitation.

“So what will this space and eight berths give you?” replied the adviser.

“Room for the family to join us.”

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“Great,” replied the adviser. “And who in the family do you see joining you?”

“My children and my grandchildren,” said Michael.

“How many people is that?” asked the adviser.

“I have two children and they’re both married and they each have a daughter,” replied Michael.

“How old are your grandchildren?”

“One is seven and the other six,” replied Michael, enjoying the opportunity to talk about them.

“So what will having space for your family to join you on your yacht in Baltimore give you?” asked the adviser.

“More time with family and grandchildren,” replied Michael.

“And what would more time with family and grandchildren give you?” pressed the adviser.

Michael became reflective. “I worked so hard over the years and regret not spending more time with my own children and grandchildren so far. This time together on the yacht would give us the chance to get to know each other.”

“And why is the 40-foot yacht important?” asked the adviser. “Couldn’t you just spend time with them at home?”

“I suppose it would be more attractive for them to come and join us on the yacht rather than just visiting us at home. We can go on trips together. I imagine us spending time in the evenings playing games together.”

“How much time do you spend with your grandchildren currently?” asked the adviser.

“Not much. An evening or an afternoon about once a month.”

“And when would you like to have the blue and white yacht in Baltimore Harbour?”

“When I retire in ten years’ time,” replied Michael.

“And how old will your grandchildren be by then?”

“Sixteen and seventeen.”

‘No sooner had Michael answered that it dawned on him that the girls may not be all that interested in spending time on a yacht with their grandparents at that age.’

Yes, it’s great to have goals, but you need to be sure that they will give you what you expect. Imagine working all the hours in the day to get that yacht only to find that it doesn’t being you any closer to your children or grandkids.

Sometimes the only way to unpack those goals is with an outsider – not a family member– someone who has the objective distance to ask the right questions.

Give me a call if you need to dig a bit deeper into your yacht dream, whatever that might be.

PS I can’t find a source for that yacht parable. If you know where it comes from, let me know.

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