Prophets for Profit

 Dec 18, 2017 6:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

      I frequently get unsolicited calls from financial advisors telling me they can offer me a free portfolio review and if I retain their services, they virtually guarantee me riches rivalling those of Warren Buffett.  I am sure this ultimate wizard of wealth exists but I for one would not know how to spot this person. 

     Though they sound convincing, I have thought about the matter carefully and have come up with a list of ten tell tale clues that might just help identify this ulitmate in financial advisors. Readers can test themselves to determine whether they would recognize this guru if they stumbled across him or her behind a Financial Post, by honestly completing the following quiz.

A.        When looking for that mystical advisor, you will try to spot him:

                        1.         walking on Wall Street discussing the stock market;

                        2.         walking on Bay Street waving a Globe and Mail;

                        3.         walking on Lake Ontario.

B.        In trying to assess the advisor’s experience and credentials, you will want someone:

                        1.         who has worked in a large brokerage house;

                        2.         who has worked in a not so large brokerage house;

                        3.         who has worked in the land of Oz.

C.        Some times the name can be a good clue.  In scanning your list of potentially right sages, you would want one working at a firm called:

                        1.         Edward Jones Canada;

                        2.         Scotia McLeod;

                        3.         Nostradamus Financial.

D.        In listening to a series of financial gurus speaking at a seminar, you are most impressed by the one who tells you:

                        1.         of the imminent bear market;

                        2.         of the imminent bull market;

                        3.         of the imminent market of fishes and loaves.

E.         You would get most excited if your advisor would drop by your office in the middle of the day and:

                        1.         buy you lunch;

                        2.         mix you a martini;

                        3.         wash your feet.

F.       You prefer an advisor who whenever he shakes your hand:  

                        1.         squeezes it like a vice;

                        2.         calls you Marilyn;

                        3.         reads your palm.

                        G   .     The advisor you are most apt to obey is the one who would tell you to:

                        1.         bring him a cheque;

                        2.         bring him your umbrella;

                        3.         bring him a great big pumpkin.

H.        You are most likely to vest your confidence in an advisor who:

                        1.         rides around in a Cadillac;

                        2.         rides around in a smart car;

                        3.         rides around inside a whale.

I.          The sage’s geographical origin might offer some clue about his ability to predict the future.  You would lend a special close ear to someone who was:

                        1)         born and raised in New York;

                        2          born and raised in Las Vegas;

                        3)         born and raised in Delphi

J.          You prefer to deal with a financial analyst who:

                        1.         wears a three piece suit;

                        2.         wears a Tweed hat and Birkenstock shoes;

                        3.         wears stars and moons on his conical hat.

                        If you answered numbers l or 2 to any of the above questions, then you may as well stay with your own advisor.  If you answered number 3 to all of the above, then congratulations.  You'll spot him when the Messiah arrives.  Meanwhile hang on to your Tweed hat.


Author-  Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel

and  Birth, Death, and Other Trivialities: A Humourous Philosophical Look at the Human Condition




PCs or Macs? That is the Question

 Dec 6, 2017 8:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

Many offices are considering switching their systems to Apple Macs. I have a vast knowledge on the subject given that I can match anyone on the planet on the frustration meter. Here are my thoughts.

Actually I have both at home. While still in practice I seriously considered switching from PC to Apple. However I relented as my tech guy warned me not to do it given the likely glitches during the learning curve. He did say it was my choice but if I succumbed and I ever needed his help, his assistant would say he is out fishing, indefinitel.

Apple is not just a computer system; it’s a culture. You go to an Apple store and what you see are swarms of clerks or “team members” sporting navy blue or red Apple sweatshirts. They are each distinguishable from one another by the tattoos they sport. That’s not exactly accurate. You can also tell them apart by their body piercings.

As expected, the staff are 110% tech savvy. You enter a store and you’ll be greeted by some millennial, usually with a name like Cal. You tell him you want to ask a question as you have just spent two hours trying to figure out why the delete button does not delete. Cal refers you to a colleague, usually with a name like Rod. Cal then sends a quick text to Rod describing your issue. Rod by the way is standing about one meter away from Cal. I suppose doing a 90 degree turn and talking is passée.

They also seem to know everything about you. Last time I attended and gave Cal my name, he said, “And I hope you enjoyed your scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast this morning.” He apparently got this accurate information after clicking a couple of times on his Apple watch.

You do get the feeling though that the staff gets a bit condescending if you look like you are over 35 years old. I have salt and pepper hair. (OK, mostly salt. OK, no pepper.). The guy at the front of the mall store, this time by the name of Zac, greeted me like I was an Amish. The look he gave me clearly said, “I trust you found ample parking for your horse and buggy.”

I tried to hide my scratch pad and pencil, but it was too late. He asked me, “What are those strange things thee art holding.”

As for the issues I had, my 8 year old granddaughter Laya instantly resolved the “delete” matter showing me that on Apples you put the curser after the word, not before. After her demo I certainly had an “Ah huh” moment. This makes eminent sense to me. I have no clue why Microsoft is so primitive.

And so if anyone wishes more information on whether or not they should toss their PCs and switch to Macs, feel free to get in touch with me. Just give me a call. I implore you however, please, do not to send me a text.




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