Home > Leftovers > You're too broke to invest here… life in an uppity suburb

You're too broke to invest here… life in an uppity suburb

About a year ago, our investment guy — the son of one of my wife’s friends — set us up with a couple of Roth IRAs. Yeah, I’m talking IRAs. You riveted yet? Thought so.

Anyway, the guy set us up with accounts at his company — a large brokerage firm — from his branch in Maryland. I won’t say who the company was, but it rhymes with “Ferrell Pinch.” A couple of months ago, our broker left Ferrell Pinch to take a job in the corporate world, leaving our accounts to whoever was left in the office.

So, when I had a question last week about my IRA, I thought it would make sense to transfer my account to the local Ferrell Pinch branch. Why deal with an office in Maryland when I have a local branch about 2 miles from my suburban digs in Cary, NC? So, I called the Cary office, and the guy suggested I come by to sign over the accounts to his office and get to know him.

Sounds reasonable right? Did to me. And today, I took a few minutes at lunch today and meet with the guy. I went over my IRAs, how much we have in them, how we became clients, etc. He asks a few questions and then drops this bomb on me: “Well, the clients we work with in this office are typically a bit older, and they have $100,000 to invest.” I won’t say how much our IRAs are worth, but it’s a far cry from 100 large.
So, in effect, my broker was saying, “You must be ‘this tall’ to ride this ride.” And, if the ride was Space Mountain, I was Verne Troyer. Or Papa Smurf, more accurately.
His suggestion was to use a call center out of Jersey to serve as my primary contact on these accounts. Damn… use a telephone to call a guy in Jersey? Really? That’s just freakin’ awesome!!! Customer service – it’s faaaantastic.

Now, let’s take stock. I took time out from my busy day to have a suave broker guy who was roughly my age tell me that I don’t have enough money for him to putz with. I mean, I’m no Rockefeller, but I always thought that I was on par with my neighborhood. Apparently not. And dude, that was a bit humiliating.

So, I now have IRA accounts with a company who thinks of me (on a local basis) as a feudal serf. To make things a bit more bizarre, he never asked how much money was in our 401k accounts… how much we are investing in other venues… how much is in our 529 plans. I’m not saying this would add up to a bazillion dollars, but it would make me look less like a Dickensian waif on the cruel streets of Cary.

Perhaps I’m being over-sensitive. Or perhaps I expected better. But be careful before doing business with Ferrell Pinch. Unless you’ve got Benjamins to spare.

Categories: Leftovers
  1. TonyS Fan
    October 30, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    Man…this was hilarious! I though you were in Apex?

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