Value and the Vatican

On a trip to Italy about 12 years ago, I witnessed a miracle. Ok, maybe it wasn't really a miracle. Maybe more of a friendly helping hand in a desperate time of need. My mom and I were visiting Vatican City, and we were desperate need of a few simple items...batteries, band-aids, and water...

The batteries were for our cameras. We were taking hundreds of photos, and although we had rechargeable batteries we didn't have a 220v charger...yes, this was our first trip to Europe. Band-aids were from the extreme walking we did, most of the time in fashionable shoes. Well, until we finally realized that being fashionable wasn't quite as important as being comfortable. I mean seriously, even though the shoes looked smoking hot, hobbling around like a one-year old just learning to walk wasn't that attractive. The water was because, you guessed it, we were thirsty, and the bubbly water just wasn't cutting it. 

It's best to ask advice

Not knowing Italian, except for a few words like fettuccine and espresso, we came to the conclusion that we should probably ask for help to locate our desperately needed items. My mother, bless her heart, decided that if you simply added an "o" to the end of each word, it suddenly made it Italian. The reasoning? Maybe the heat. Maybe the wine. Pick one, as I assure you both played a vital decisive role.

As she approached a stranger on the street, dressed in all black, and against my better judgement, began to explain our predicament to him. Confidently, and in an odd sort of rhythm, she asked "where-o is-o the-o Wal-Mart-o"? To my bewilderment, he answered, in perfect New York-English, "you're not from around here, are you"? 

Come to find out, this all black wearing dude was a visiting priest from non-other than, yep, NYC. He explained that the "farmacia" (pharmacy) was the closest outlet in which we could collect our much needed shopping list. After a few laughs we parted ways, heading in the right direction towards our shopping salvation.

Why am I telling you this? First, to explain that speaking a foreign language isn't quite as easy as my mom originally "thought-o". But most importantly, to show that needs change over time, and sometimes asking for help might really be a good idea. 

Your financial needs change over time

The things you needed years ago probably aren't the same as what you need now. Retirement, life insurance, savings, emergency funds, wills, and cash flow...they all change. It is important to change your previous plans to match your current and future needs. 

The hardest part for most people is understanding how to get from what they currently have, to what they'll need in the future. Often times asking for help from an expert is more cost effective in the long run rather than the mistakes you'll make along the way. 

The time horizon on your retirement funds

Take for instance your retirement portfolio. The investment risk level you have typically decreases as you get older, umm, I mean become more seasoned. So what you used to have probably isn't quite cutting it now, and definitely won't be what you'll need going forward. That's because the time horizon until you'll need those funds decreases as you get older. 

To remedy this, an investment advisor can design a portfolio that's suitable for your particular situation, and continue to make adjustments as needed. After all, it's your retirement account, and it's supposed last for the rest of your life...till death do you part and all of that stuff. Shouldn't it at least be compatible for you?

Ask the experts

That's what the experts bring to the table. The skills and knowledge you need, for whatever you need. Sure, I could probably go to YouTube and watch a few videos before trying to tackle installing a new skylight, but my instincts tell me I should probably call in the big guns. You might want to also...

Don't know how much you'll need to be able to retire? Get advice. Don't understand the different powers of attorney out there? Get advice. Need batteries, water, and band-aids while visiting Vatican City? Well, you can go ahead and ask me that's about three blocks north of the Vatican on the right.


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"Image courtesy of By Grant Cochrane, published on 08 April 2013 Stock Photo - image ID: 100156340 /".


  1. Michelle I remember that. I also remember that you had to sleep with a net over you because the mosquitoes was so bad. You had no bug spray over there. Has it been 12 years since you made that trip.

    Yep, your mom is funny. Adding a "o" at the end of every word. I can hear her now.

  2. I would have killed for some Deep Woods Off! We also couldn't open the windows much at night for fear of bats flying into the house. Such an experience!