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Friday, July 19, 2013

Three Types of People

In my early years as a financial advisor I had a mentor who gave me probably some of the most valuable information and advice ever in my life.  It was meant in the context of being a financial advisor and how to deal with people with whom you are going to be trying to help achieve their goals in life.  A financial advisor doesn't just deal with people's money, although that is the main function.  Help people invest and become wealthy.  We also are to help them achieve their long term goals.  Do you want to retire at 58 and move to Costa Rica?  Is your goal to put your children through college? Is the goal to pay off your home and live a quiet life painting the landscapes in your part of the world?  Travel the world in your retirement years?  Write a book?  Start a new business?  Give an endowment to your favorite charity.   Our job is (was... now that I am retired) to find out what it IS that you want to do and to help you achieve it.   In order to help, it is a two way relationship.  The advisor ......advises and the client follows the advice.  Working together to help the clients live the dream.

So it is in this context that I got this advice and found that it is applicable to every aspect of my life. 

There are basically three types of people that you will meet as an advisor (and in all of your life as well)

The first is People You Can't Help.   You want to help them. They want to be helped. They know they need help.  But, they don't have the means or ability to achieve what they want or what you would like to do for them.  Instead of wasting a great deal  your time on them, give them what advice you can and refer them to another agency to get help.  Do what you can and sadly.....move on.

The second is People You Can Help:  This is the bread and butter of your practice (and in your life).  These people also want to be helped. They know you can help them and you can work with them.  They have the means. They have the desire. They will take your advice and give you useful feedback.  They will know that the path forward is not a straight one and will have some potholes and bumps.  The People You Can Help are a joy to work with and the feeling of pride and satisfaction in spending your time and energy to achieve their goals is immeasurable.  Spend your time with these people and your business will thrive and you, as the advisor, will have a wonderful life.

The third category is People Too Stupid to Help:   Here is where an advisor can go wrong, ruin their practice and develop ulcers.  These people are just too stupid to help.  Don't be fooled or sucked in because often they have a lot of means (money) and it is tempting to try to court them as clients.  They won't listen to you. Refuse to take your advice and when things go wrong will blame you.  They will suck up all of your time asking you to explain over and over and over the most simple concepts.  And still won't listen. They expect to be treated special if they are the ones with the deep pockets.  These people just cannot be helped because they are TOO STUPID TO HELP.   Run away from these folks.  Refer them to someone else.  Refuse to take them as clients and if you have taken them on as clients before you recognized that they are the third category.....nicely fire them and refer them to some other advisor.  

My stock phrasing, was something along these lines.   

"Mr. and Mrs. Client.  We have been working together now for some time (no we haven't because you just won't get your head out of your ass and pay attention or follow my advice....and you argue with everything I say), unfortunately I just don't think that we are compatible as a team. My philosophy as an advisor doesn't seem to be compatible with yours (I want to make you money and you seem to want to lose it and ignore all of my professional advice.)  So, I believe that it might be for the best if you found an advisor that can give you the time and attention that you deserve.  So I regretfully think that you should search for another advisor as I can't service your account any longer. (Find some other poor schumck who has more patience that I do and don't let the door hit you and your fat portfolio on the way out.)   Followed by a letter stating similar concepts.  

The three types of people concept has been invaluable in my personal life and in my time spent commenting on various blogs and chat rooms in the internet.  I thank my long ago mentor mentally all of the time for giving to me this pearl of wisdom.  Just realize that some people are just......Too Stupid To Help and distance yourself from them.  Time is too precious to waste on the stupid.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Knitting. What! There's Math? AKA. Swatching Sucks

Being thoroughly sick of making hats and scarves for gifts, I have decided to make a sweater for myself.   So...I'm sitting on the couch, swatching. Grumbling and cursing.  The Dumbplumber (my everlovin' sweetie of a husband) who rarely pays attention....I swear I could dye my hair green...but ....I digress......

He asks:  "What are you making"
"A swatch", I say or more correctly, bitch.

The knitters will understand and feel my pain.   Swatching is the bane of a knitter's existence and requires math.  (dun dun dun duuuunnn  scary music sound)   For those non-knitting people let me explain.   Swatching is when you knit a bunch of samples to find out if your knitting gauge and number of stitches will make your project be the right size.   Attempting to explain to The Dumbplumber, (ladies...don't attempt  this at home. Especially if you have both had a drink or two.)

Me explaining:  "You have a pattern like THIS one   ...that I plan to make.

There is a suggestion on the yarn, size of needles and the number of stitches per inch and the number of rows per inch.  If you can knit this are in like Flynn (whatever that means).  If not. Then your sweater will fit Godzilla or your sweater will fit a midget, but certainly not YOU.

For example
1. The pattern calls for 20 stitches to equal 4 inches on size 7 needles
2. The pattern calls for 60 stitches for a particular piece: say a part of the front.  Then the piece should equal  60/20 = 3 units   So...then 3 units should be 3 x 4" =  a 12  inch piece

All well and good, until you substitute another yarn and when you take into consideration that each person has a different style and tension in knitting.   Also if you use a different yarn, it may not knit up the same.

For example:  If my gauge works out to  16 stitches = 4 inches then the piece will be much larger.  

60 stitches/16 stitches =  3.75 units    3.75 x 4 =  15 inch piece.  

THREE inches too big on just one piece!!   Multiply this effect over all of the other parts of the sweater and you have a gigantically larger than you want sweater.

Go the other way and assume you have MORE stitches per inch and then your sweater  will be tiny.  All that time you spent knitting will have been wasted.

The only way to know your gauge  is to make a swatch, which is to knit, in the pattern, a 4 x4 inch (at least) section.  Boooorrrring.  But what is worse is to not make a swatches and make a sweater that no one born on this Earth can wear.  If you don't swatch you will be wasting hours upon hours of time. Even though this is boring beyond belief, it's better than not doing it.   And so on."  

Until the Dumbplumber's eyes begin to roll backwards in his head.

Dumbplumber having listened to all of this above reasoning (or rather bitching)

Asks: " So what do you do with this stuff you are knitting now?"
"I tear it up and roll it back into a ball", I say.

Staring at me in disbelief......"You are f***ing nuts.", says he.

I can't disagree.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We Took A Sunday Drive and Had a Picnic.

This last weekend we finally had a beautiful sunny day.  We have had months of sub freezing temperatures.  Between Christmas and the first week of February,  we had only  20 hours where the temperatures were above freezing.  There still is snow and ice that are lingering in the shady spots.  But, as always, this too shall pass and spring is in the air.  So, The Dumbplumber and I decided to take a Sunday drive and have a small picnic.

Arriving at a client's house to sit on their overlook,. we borrowed  their view for a bit.   We have a lot of absentee or seasonal clients for which we do various plumbing maintenance services: like winterizing so the pipes and pumps won't freeze and break, then recharging the systems in the spring.  Sitting on a bluff of ancient lava rocks and looking at the beautiful view, we ate fried chicken, chips and fruit salad and tried to fend off some crows who felt that we should share.

The view is spectacular
Majestic Mt Shasta close up

Sand Hill Cranes
Next we decided to drive up to the next valley, over the mountain and at an higher elevation, to see what was happening.  The geology of the area is that these valleys are the remnants of glacial lakes.  Every spring the valleys are full of water from springs and are the perfect areas for the multitudes of migratory that come through. Ducks and  Geese are common in the thousands.   This time we had the exciting moment of seeing hundreds of Sand Hill Cranes in one place.  Unfortunately, I severely lack camera-foo abilities and was unable t see where I was aiming due to sun glare so this is the best photo I could get.

Driving along we also saw a sight that while unpleasant, is a fact of life in the 'outback' of rural Western living.   Liberal and urban heads are exploding everywhere.

Am I a really evil person, because one of my first thoughts was......what a waste of fur?   Coyote coats are the most beautiful things.   Yeah....I guess I am.   Life in the country.

Note: these photos were re-sized to be small enough to post.  The actual links are

Here: Majestic Mt Shasta 
         The Wider View
         Coyote on a fence