Meeting with My Money Man

Last night, my financial adviser met up with me at a diner nearby to discuss changing a few things over a plate of curly fries…

Health insurance
I told him I was thinking of switching to FreelancersUnion.org insurance, but he went right to the crux of what’s wrong with those plans – and I felt pretty good that it was the same point that was causing me to hesitate (hospital deductible/co-pay). He says that since I have no real health problems or family history of anything pending in the next few years, he thinks I should get in on a “cheap” HMO for $315/month (which is $110 less than my current plan and has better coverage though fewer doctors in Manhattan). He made an interesting point that I would have come up with eventually: isn’t it worth $4 in subway fares to travel to Queens to see a gynecologist or whatever and save myself $1300+ a year? And the best hospital in the city is in-network. Anyway, he’s on this plan himself and he used to run hospital admin – any problems I have getting things done with the insurance company, I drop him a line and he sorts it out. Apparently I should have done this all along, like when I wanted to know in advance how much a procedure was going to cost and no one could answer that – not the insurance company, not the doctor’s office, not the pre-cert folks, no one. Very off-pissing. I anticipate switching May 1, after I get one thing out of the way that I suspect a cheap HMO won’t give a stamp of approval, especially not for a brand new member.

Whole Life
He wants me to not make any decisions about reducing my premium because:
(a) Even before the stock market crash, my retirement savings were way behind for my age.
(b) Our new president is going to find ways to tax investments left right and center, but this sort of instrument is considered family-oriented and classified as insurance, so it’s unlikely to be affected.
(c) My problem with the policy is my drastic drop in income, not the suitability of the product. Here’s where it gets interesting…

Business Plan
He had a lot of ideas on how to increase my business. Some of them aren’t relevant to massage (he was describing how a client of his ran his personal training biz), and others involve, ahem, communication skills I don’t have but can develop. Specifically, he thinks I should go to the tradeshows at hotels nearby, wear a t-shirt or something announcing that I’m a massage therapist, and hand out my card. The most likely for me to attempt, at least initially, was having him hook me up with a friend/client who runs a bike org that meets nearby – I’d show up once a week at the same time and pass out my card to new members. That one I like, because cyclists and runners are my biggest fans thanks to my fancy Thai moves for their legs and hips. He also wants to figure out a way to get me in with the rich geriatric crowd. Which reminds me, I need to renew my CPR certification… Anyway, the overall picture is that we need to get me through the next year until I can start and complete my structural integration training, which will change my financial picture completely.

Apartment
My Money Man has lots of clients with apartments all over the city that they rent out, and called me at one point before our meeting to ask where I wanted to live and my price range. He said they all think I have a great deal where I am, and that I should continue paying my rent and living here even after my lease expires because it will take them 6 months to kick me out. This shocked me, but I’m left wondering how in-touch they are with what has happened to the rental market in the last 2 months. However, I firmly believe that this is the best possible time for me to upgrade to a one-bedroom (ideally) or an even larger studio – there are some that are “2-room studios”, which I don’t entirely understand…think it has something with doors or windows or where the bathroom is located. Anyway, what I took away from that discussion is that if I don’t find the perfect place by the 31st, don’t sweat it.

I like my financial adviser a lot … his approach is to build the success of his smaller clients so that down the line, they’ll become bigger clients. Beats the pants off the first adviser I tried – he just tried to milk me for contacts and sounded like he had memorized a sales pitch.

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3 Responses

  1. he sounds awesome, and so does your plan!

  2. That’s neat, I’ve always done my own financial planning. I think landlords are always a bit delusional in a falling market, they always want to think the price on their place hasn’t dropped because of X,Y,Z. Shop around, it doesn’t hurt to see what your options are. I read online that people were fleeing NY because of the cost of living.

  3. having someone on YOUR SIDE is def. a great thing – glad you found a good one 🙂 i have a nice accountant, but still have not found a Money Man as yet…maybe it’ll go on my list to find though.

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