Yes, I know most people who have a financial advisor would go to the office to see him or her. Ours come to us. He calls in on the way to work - once a year.
Our needs are actually fairly simple. It is unusual for me to do more than send him a few "keeping you informed" emails during the year. We need him because the Senior Cat is not able to do some things for himself and because I don't pretend to understand the finer details of his affairs - or mine.
In the scheme of things we pay D... very little for what he does. He sorted out all the paper work when the Senior Cat moved to his current residence. He fills out financial forms and deals with superannuation for the Senior Cat and makes sure the small number of shares I have are performing well enough to give me that vital little bit of extra income. He makes phone calls to people - people he knows - so that I don't have to spend hours waiting to talk to someone who won't know me the way they know him. He has all our information correct - down to the last date and cent.
What is more he works for a small office but that office is part of a much larger office which is well insured against fraudulent dealings. We do not doubt the probity of D... or his partner or their secretary. This is about the wider financial system.
We have been fortunate and we know it. So each year I make a batch of the wholemeal shortbread I know they all like and D... takes it back to the office.
And this year I also gave him something else. In the course of clearing out the shed we came across something the Senior Cat had made. I passed it over and D... looked puzzled for a moment. Then his expression changed.
"It's a top!"
He restrained himself from playing with it there and then but, as he left, he said, "You know we still have all the puzzles your father made. K... has them lined up in reception. People play with them all the time."
I do know that. I was in the office late last year to drop some papers off and K.... had just given one of the puzzles to a worried man who was waiting to see S...., D's partner. These are not jigsaw puzzles but puzzles that must be manipulated, pulled apart and put together again. One has only two pieces but is quite difficult to do.
The Senior Cat made many such puzzles. I don't know how many he made for this particular office but there must be seven or eight of them there. There are also some in the doctor's office and in other places. He gave them to people who sometimes had to ask people to wait or where people who were waiting were likely to be worried or nervous.
The top won't join the puzzles. It isn't quite suitable for that. But K... sent me an email to thank me for the shortbread and told me that D... and S.... had both been playing with it during their quick lunch break. As she put it, "Stress relief."