Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Sour grapes

Every Saturday I read the Financial Facelift column in the Toronto Globe And Mail. I read this column as a combination of a bit of education, entertainment and schadenfreude. This past weekend was no exception.

The article I'm talking about is here

Basically, its about a fairly well-to-do couple who had saved diligently, invested conservatively, amassed substantial wealth, but were concerned that the income that their combined pensions, investments and other sources brought in would not support the retirement lifestyle that they were accustomed to or wanted. They were looking for a professional opinion, and likely some assurances that what they have been doing financially is sound and sensible and will carry them through their retirement.

It was refreshing to see an article that was not a doom and gloom scenario. What surprised me (but perhaps shouldn't have) was the vitriole left by some readers in the comments. The couple basically has had their act together for years, but some of the commenters were griping because it wasn't a hard-luck story. Geez, guys!!! Get a grip!!! Everyone needs advice, reassurance and a second opinion now and then. Personally, I'm happy that the Globe and Mail chose to run this story, because it shows a breadth of possibility, not just the "we've messed up our finances and need help" scenario.

Here's a situation that should be common, but sadly isn't: Imagine if you had maxed out your RRSP in your year of your first job right after university, and did so every year until you were 50. If you invested sensibly during that time, you could have amassed on the order of half a million dollars or more. Would you still need advice on your finances? Possibly . Would you benefit from a second opinion? Likely. Would your story be a appropriate for the Financial Facelift column? Definitely. Should you be abused in print by those who were financially irresponsible, lazy or spendthrift? Definitely not.

The nasty comments by the article's detractors (i.e."boo f'**in hoo") say so much more about the commentors than anything else. To those detractors I say: Why don't you learn from the actions of others instead of being jerks? Sour grapes, dudes. Sour grapes.

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