Financial Planner 43551

Six Girls Eating Chinese Food

In Retirement Thinking, The Insider by Adam Cufr

More than any other topic, people seem to want me to write about my family. Apparently, your appetite for taxes and Social Security insights are not on par with your curiosity of my silly, cartoonish family. How do I know this? Well, besides the frequent hints and comments, last week’s response to Dave’s news really brought things home for me. Why? There were MANY responses that started with, “OMG, my jaw dropped when I read that headline!” Meaning, if Adam has another daughter on the way, we…just can’t believe it. With that in mind, here goes.

The other night we were running ragged trying to get everything done that the day required and that meant we had no plans for dinner. As these things go, it was either Chick-Fil-A, pizza, or Chinese. Given that it was Sunday and one of those options was closed and the other has grown tiresome, Chinese it was. When the food was dropped onto the kitchen table. The vultures descended upon it like they hadn’t been fed for days. Carie was off to get changed into her jammies, and I literally couldn’t find a place at the table because of stuff that had mysteriously gathered there, so I just sat in the other room and watched the girls serve themselves and engage in rapid-fire discussion like they often do (it’s INTENSE at our dinner table).

As I sat there, it dawned on me that this is what the future looks like if we’re lucky. Seeing this opportunity, I interrupted as best I could to offer them this stunner, “Hey, when Mom and I are gone, this is what you’ll look like without us.” In my morbid attempt to forge a tighter family unit, I wanted to plant the seed that they should take care of each other because they’ll be all the family they have at some point in the future.

See, I have this fear that my then-adult girls will feud with one another someday and I won’t be able to fix it. They’ll decide that being sisters to one another isn’t worth it because she’s so selfish or she’s too catty or she thinks she’s better than us. In other words, I want our girls to stay close for their entire lives and I know I can’t get that in a written guarantee. So in this moment of Chinese food bliss, I thought I’d try to convince them to visualize what a life without mom and dad might look like. And I wanted them to be okay with being sisters – or even friends – to each other and not just people forced to be together because their parents require it.

I’m sure this tactic isn’t all that effective, but what’s a guy to do? I’ve told them I’ll haunt them if they don’t get along, but that’s just me joking…sort of. It’s all done out of love, even if my attempts are slightly misguided. I think they know all of this; after all, they’re pretty dang smart most of the time.

While this is an awful moment to interrupt with a retirement planning thought, I do want to add that we’ve built a team at Fourth Dimension that allows your plan to outlive me if I’m gone before my time. Or Dave or Steve or Andrew. We know that nothing is certain in life so we’ve worked very hard to ensure that you can count on ‘us’ even if one of us is pulled from the game before it’s over. And I suppose that’s what I’m trying to do at home too; building into my daughters that they have what it takes to live a great and rewarding life together even after the team’s founders are gone.

If you’re looking for a way to build a stronger family unit or a team, I might suggest Chinese food. It requires communication when deciding what’s available to eat and what’s good, and there’s a good chance there will be leftovers that keep the memories coming the following day. That is unless you have six kids. In that case, there are no leftovers, just a horrendous mess to clean up over the next two hours. Yeah, I love my daughters but I hope they clean up their relationship messes better than they do their Chinese food messes.

All the best,

Adam Cufr, RICP®