Wisdom from a Cocktail Napkin?

June, 2023

OK, this should be fun. Years ago, a woman I was dating had a gathering of friends at her home, which of course included a selection of cocktails. I don’t remember what I drank that evening, but I’ll never forget the stack of cocktail napkins on the table, which said, “If you are what you eat, then I’m QUICK, CHEAP & EASY.” To quote one of my favorite comedians, Larry the Cable Guy: “That’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are!”

I often think about that napkin in relation to prospects and clients in my financial practice. Why? Because there are a lot of people that seem to prefer quick, cheap, and easy, even when it comes to managing the money they’re worked so long and so hard to accumulate. I always ask my clients what their expectations are in working with a true financial advisor. And by “true,” I mean someone like me who is completely independent and takes full fiduciary responsibility over my client’s emotions, investments, and financial strategies. I’m not referring to the kind of person who meets the qualifications served up on that cocktail napkin, perhaps someone wearing a headset and answering your 401(k) questions from a toll-free number.

Recently, I read a blog at advisorpedia.com that referenced a study from JP Morgan in the UK as to why some people have never used a professional advisor. The numbers were interesting to say the least. 39% said they believe they can get all the information for free, and 26% said they never thought about it. I can promise you they were thinking about it!

I get it. Maybe you do as well. There are times in life that I don’t feel I’m getting the benefits for a cost I paid. It’s rare, but it happens. So, what type of financial advice are you getting, if any? Is it “quick, cheap, and easy?” If you’re strictly in your accumulation years, you might be able to get by with that, but how about when you start staring 55, 62, 66, and even 70 in the face?

What I can tell you is that if you own my book, the deeper you dive into the Castles chapters, the more important they become, and the shorter the timeline you might have. By the time you start digging into Chapter 28 on “Planning for your Income in Retirement,” you should quickly realize that you’ve exhausted your “Quick, Cheap, & Easy” days.

If you’re interested and willing to look at some of my earlier blogs, I recommend rereading two of them. The first is “Junk Drawers,” since you’ve probably got a pile of old 401(k) statements, possibly from several of your former employers’ plans that contain dollars you failed to move to an IRA rollover. There could also be old accounts that you’ve totally forgotten about; maybe a ROTH IRA that you started but never continued funding; savings accounts left at banks; and the list goes on.

The other blog is “Mailbox Money,” which was just published last month. Wouldn’t it be nice to know – with certainty – what your income in retirement looks like? How does Social Security factor into those calculations? Do you want to retire on your terms, or based on what your lifestyle and retirement savings say you must do? How much longer do you WANT to work or better yet HAVE to work? What is your health mandating you can do? What paths will you be able to take when you’re staring at your vision of retirement? Reread this paragraph and answer those questions in your head.

Personally, I’m staring age 65 right in the face and applying for Medicare. Soon thereafter, I’ll be looking to age 66 & 8 months, which is my eligibility date for my Social Security full retirement benefit to begin. In my opinion, Kahlil Gibran said it best: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

On my website, the words “Quick, Cheap & Easy” are nowhere to be found. Instead, you’ll find “Experienced, Trusted, and Independent.” They are there for a reason, because I live by those words with everyone with whom I work. Maybe it’s time you jettison the “quick, cheap and easy” financial mentality and come onboard with someone like me? I truly hope to hear from you.

It warms my heart when I see you at social gatherings and you reference my book, my blogs, and all that is happening in my professional life. And there’s more to come! Soon, we’ll be working on the Castles & Moats Podcast, and hope that you’ll listen when it’s available via YouTube and other social media outlets. Enjoy the Summer months ahead!

Many thanks,


**Examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and may be not indicative of your situation. Individual results may vary.

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Brian E. Carden, Insurance & Financial Advisor
Phone: 615.506.0300
Email: brian@briancarden.com

Securities and Advisory services offered through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor. Past market performance is not indicative of future performance or success. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.