Wednesday, May 03, 2006


So. A financial planner called me out of the blue yesterday and suggested meeting me later that afternoon because she was dropping by a client in my office. Trying to turn back to my work, I asked her to give me a call when she was done with her client and I would see what my schedule looked like.

She called me that afternoon and I went downstairs to meet her hoping to pick up her business card, and maybe a shiny folder with useless, if colorful, brochures. Yeah, not so much. She clearly planned for us to have a sit-down, so I found two unoccupied chairs in a hallway. She started asking me about my background, where I grew up, how many siblings I have, etc. etc.

I think I'm an open person (hello! I have a blog where I share the various and sundry details of my life with the whole Internets!), but I found it really jarring and it made me massively uncomfortable. I have no poker face, unless I really, really focus, so it must have been blatantly obvious that I wasn't enjoying the process. I was also irritated that she wasn't respecting that I had told her that I had a full schedule.

Questions that really bothered me:

"Tell me what your father, the economist, and your mother, the accountant, taught you about saving."

Umm, what??? As you've summarized, my parents are all about the dollar, dollar bills, y'all. Like I'm going to be able to summarize what they spent 17+ years teaching me. As I ended up telling her, they are IMMIGRANTS! The saving mentality is basically "SAVE! Don't spend!" As my mother has told me a hundred times, you never know when circumstances may change. (My dad, being an economist, is a little more aggressive in terms of return on your money, but same basic idea.)

"Where do you see yourself 5 years from now....personally, professionally, financially?"

I don't think my best friend has a solid grasp on that question. Hell, I don't think I know what I want 5 years down the road - why would I want to share that with someone I just met who is horning in on my time? I told her that if someone told me 5 years ago that I'd go "cold turkey" on my software engineering career, go to law school, and end up moving to California - I would have called them crazy. I'm much less about medium to long-term planning now. I point myself towards a goal, but I check in often to make sure that it's what I really want.

And now for the kicker:

"So, it's just you then, is it? No kids? No husband?"

To which I said, "I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate me having a husband." Actually, that's what I wish I had said. I experienced a mix of "Mom, is that you?"; "if you just had to ask, why would you phrase the question that way in the BAY AREA?"; and "how does someone younger than me manage to sound so Aunt Bee?"

I go through phases: once a year for a month or so, I suddenly experience a lot of interest in my personal life. (I'm not counting trips to the nail salon - happens every time I go.) Individually, these episodes are really funny (ex. owner of the "bridal shoppe"where I purchased my maid of honor gown, "Sometimes you need to hit someone over the head." Good to know) - but, overall, it leaves me a little anxious. Should I be concerned? Am I so outside the norm? Do I really care if I am? Ultimately, I decide "no, maybe, not really." Aside from the pure humor value (woman at the doctor's office taking a blood sample, "You're not married?! At your age?! But you're INDIAN! You need a plan!" Important to note - she was not Indian), maybe I should be happy with the (externally-inforced) yearly opportunity to consider what is important to me, and the way I'm living my life.


Bengali Chick said...

Made me laugh! I always agonize over the quick, witty, sharp responses I should have given when someone is being totally obnoxious. I would have loved to see her expression if had said..."my gf wldn't appreciate that.."

Paperback Writer said...

Hmmm, I think I would have given her the evil eye.


Roonie said...

I wouldn't have continued the conversation with her after she asked me the first question that I thought was too close to "stalker."

You are perfectly fine. Indian or not, you're taking care of yourself right now. Once you get that in order, the rest will come.

roopali said...

isn't it so bizarre that total strangers feel like they can drop knowledge on your personal life? the funny thing is, if you ask them how THEIR personal lives are, you'd probably find 50% of them are treading the divorce line...