Sometimes nothing makes sense. And at other times, it makes even less.
After writing weeks and weeks of serious stuff, my son, Bill, asked whether I could get back to some of that personal, fun stuff. I have no problem with that but unless it relates somewhat to financial planning or financial services, why am I cluttering up this fine Web site with drivel? My son's response? "Drivel is good. Drivel is fun."
Okay then, I thought seriously about this aspect. I had already done a piece about my gardener whose own financial planning consisted of making sure I was being charged $75 for fertilizing my lawn, especially when the bag he bought at Home Depot cost him $26 and he used it for five of his clients. Not a bad profit, eh? No wonder he could retire at age 50 and buy a house in Spain overlooking the Mediterranean.
But this one was a stickler until my wife, Rosie, gave me something to ponder that certainly had to do with planning. I couldn't figure it out so I will throw the case to you. Consider these facts.
In my laundry room at home sits a washer, dryer, freezer, vacuum, and two litter boxes. It's a nice size laundry room but strangely has a door that is only 23 inches wide. Hmmmmm.
Now, when it came time to put in a new freezer, we had to get something that would fit through the door. Okay, for a second refrigerator in the house it wasn't the end of the world to buy a 9-cubic foot one. And it was only 22 inches wide. A whole inch in clearance. My day was made.
Now, Rosie comes up with this. "You know, the washer and dryer are both quite old and every time something happens we repair it but with the way prices on new washers and dryers have dropped, it pays not to repair anymore and to buy new." Okay so far. Makes perfect sense. And you obviously know where I am heading.
So, I go to the local appliance stores just to see what's around. Well, the narrowest washer is 26 inches and the narrowest dryer is 29 inches. The ones at home are the same size.
Query, how do we get these into the laundry room? I decided to ask a local "expert" about this. Oh very simple, he tells me. They simply remove the casing--the metal surrounding the guts of the washer or dryer--and reassemble inside the laundry room. Make sense to you? Didn't to me, so I obviously contacted the appliance store people. They went into convulsions when I told them this. No, no, no, no. Tears of laughter flowed.
Okay then, the question is straightforward enough. How did those two appliances get into that laundry room in the first place? If they can't be taken apart and are simply too wide for the door, how did they make their way there? And rule out being dropped from the ceiling. There's a second floor to the house plus an attic.
Want the answer now? Talk about planning. It's certainly akin to what many financial gurus do today. The laundry room was built around the washer/dryer. In other words, when the house was constructed, the washer and dryer went into the space first and then the room evolved around it. A financial planner today will look at certain salient elements and then devise a portfolio to encase them.
However, there is one catch here. A good planner worth his or her salt will keep those famous two words, "asset allocation" in the forefront and make sure there is room to expand and develop. The crazy contractor who built this house obviously would have made a lousy financial planner because he built the room with only a 23-inch door.
Uh oh, I hear rumblings from the laundry room. The washer is starting to cough. Here we go. Got the solution? Sure, it may only cost a few hundred dollars for a new washer but consider the cost of widening that doorway? Oh my, we're not going to restaurants for the next six months. And, I'm not calling the original builder.
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