Who doesn’t like puppies, right? Their little tails, wet puppy noses, floppy ears? A puppy is the ultimate antidote to a bad mood. That is, until you have to clean up after five non-housebroken puppies who just made it through their first night in your basement. The smell is one we’ll not soon forget.
Our family has been a foster family for years…for kittens. We’ve likely had over 100 kittens come through our house, delighting little kids with their kitten cuteness. Both the Lucas County and Wood County Humane Societies have us on their short list of who to call when a litter is dropped-off and baby kittens need to be bottle fed because mama cat has died or is missing. It’s really a wonderful experience most of the time.
This time, the call was not for kittens, but for puppies. Since we’re not good at saying “no” to baby pets (at least Carie isn’t), we brought home five adorable Setter / Pit Bull puppies to care for over the next month. While they are truly adorable, the smell is on another level. Simply atrocious. I mean awful.
This allows me to get to my point. I’ve learned that puppies are in many ways more satisfying to hang out with than kittens. When you tap your foot, or call them, they actually listen and respond. Kittens, on the other hand, will simply stare at you with a look of young indifference, hinting at the adult-level contempt that is in the making. You know the story, cats do what they want, dogs actually seem to be interested in people. No subtle difference. So these puppies are much more interactive than kittens, and that’s pretty neat. They puppy growl, and puppy play, and unfortunately, puppy mess.
Always seeing an opportunity for retirement planning metaphors, it dawned on me that there’s a strong carryover from pets to planning. Here it is: there’s more than one way to skin a…wait…there is more than one way to approach retirement. Your way may be to keep things very simple, low maintenance, while someone else may appreciate the finer points of regular maintenance and constant adjustment. The key is to educate yourself on which approach is better for you and to ensure that the advisory team you’re working with is aligned with your needs. Cat person, dog person, each has his or her own style and neither is incorrect.
While I won’t pretend that I’ll settle the age old cats-versus-dogs debate in a single newsletter, I will suggest that spending time with each can go a long way toward getting in the right camp. Meanwhile, building a retirement plan to suit your unique needs is much more important than choosing dogs or cats, right? Right?
When considering whether a retirement plan should involve a risk-based approach or a safety-first approach, know that both can work well depending on the markets, but they require very different approaches from the advisor and from you. Seeing how both operate is a must, just like spending time with cats and dogs tells where we stand on the debate. Let us know if we can help you sort it all out.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®