Art of the Real Deal

I arrived early for my appointment. I was a little nervous because it was my first meeting with a financial planner and agent for the company in which I hold the bulk of my retirement savings.

So of course I accepted the receptionist’s offer of a cup of coffee. It was one of those single serve machines and there was already a brewed cup waiting–which puzzled me.

The receptionist apologized and said it was left by one of the agents who had just stepped out.

After I signed in and got my coffee, I sat down and immediately noticed a large painting on the wall adjacent to my chair.

Art of the Real 2 right

I could not read the artist’s signature, not that it would have clarified anything for me. I asked the receptionist about it, specifically the book entitled ART OF THE REAL. She said it was a book about realism in art published sometime in the 1970s. She mentioned that visitors often confused it with President Donald Trump’s book The Art of the Deal.

As I waited, I wondered why that painting was chosen to be the first thing you see when you enter the office. Maybe the eggs are supposed to make you think of your own nest egg for retirement. Maybe the kitchen setting conveys the notion of cooking up a recipe for funding your retirement. And possibly, you’re to set yourself into a frame of mind in which you are very soon going to have to get real about how you’re going to pay the bills when the paychecks stop.

And that’s as much art as science. After the meeting when I got home, I googled ART OF THE REAL and couldn’t find a thing about it.

A few other people checked in; one of them I recognized as a colleague. We briefly exchanged pleasantries. Then the smartphones came out, although I didn’t reach for mine. I had already used it to snap a picture of ART OF THE REAL.

It struck me as more surreal than real. It reminded me of the waiting room scene in the movie “Beetlejuice,” in which several corpses sit, anxiously anticipating their meeting with their caseworker. They were reminded to bring the “handbook”–Handbook for the Recently Deceased.

I guess I should have had brought something like a Handbook for the Soon-To-Be Retired.

My adviser and I talked about the numbers, meaning whether I would outlive my money–probably not, but you just never know and so on. It made me wonder; is what Kruse said true?

“Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.”–Kevin Kruse.

Ask anyone who is retiring about that, or better yet, ask a financial planner. You don’t have to look far on the web to find dozens of wealthy experts with tons of advice about how to get and have, some of them ironic.

One of them recommends staying out of the stock market because it’s just too volatile and invites you to buy his book about how to do that. Eventually he admits that he got to the point of not needing any money in the stock market because early in his getting and having career–he invested heavily in the stock market.

Maybe I should write a book: ART OF THE REAL DEAL.