About a year ago, we changed financial advisors, choosing Thrivent Financial, to manage our funds. The Christians part aside, we liked their directness, availability, and the opportunity to look at how we might get the money out of the retirement fund when it comes that time. If you haven’t noticed, everyone is really good about telling you how to put it in the account. Not so good about how to extract it and how to diversify your options so that some of them are tax free. Ben and Isaac were really clear and we made some significant changes in the way we were putting it in. Since then they’ve done well for us and Isaac recently invited us to join them at the Thrivent Financial Day at Santa Anita. Last year we hadn’t been able to go, but this year Jimmie and I were free to go and so we added it to our calendar.
We had no idea what to expect, but when we arrived at the track, we found relatively close parking, and easy access to the ground floor entrance to the private party area. There, we found our financial advisor, Isaac, near the buffet table, which was only feet from a bank of windows where we’d be able to conveniently place our bets throughout the day.
I had only ever been to the track once before, in Reno, with my Dad and Stepmother when I was about 14. There, he’d placed a bet for me and I’d won, $14, as I recall. Somehow I avoided the allure of winning at the track, and it’s only taken me forty-three years to return. But after today, I may not stay away as long next time. We had a blast.
In the car on the way out to Santa Anita, Jimmie told me the things we should do in our betting today. Back when he was a late teen, he’d go to the track with his mom and dad in Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire. He remembered there is a $2.00 ticket that allows you to bet on one horse to Win, Place and Show (it’s actually $6.00 for all three of those options), but then you are really covered. Later, some of his dear friends, Jackie and Steve in New York, were part owners of a horse, and they used to go to the track. He warned me about the touts, who would come and tell you a tip about a race, then come back expecting a cut of your winnings.
They’re not going to let a tout into a private party area, I scoffed.
Today, as I stood in line for dessert behind a tall, attractive brunette woman, we ogled the plates of desserts passing by but it was the woman with the single oatmeal cookie that caused us to both giggle and begin talking.
How’re you doing today? I quipped.
Great, she said. (beat) I don’t bet.
That’s when we laughed about the irony of being invited to gamble away our hard earned investments at the race track. She said her husband liked to tease their investment manager that he was going to bet it all on one horse.
And the tout? There was a board inside the party area which listed his choices. I more or less followed them, and did pretty well today. And he ended up addressing the crowd through a mic right in front of our table. Periodically he’d check in with us to see how we were doing.
I really wanted to know how to get a ride in the surrey without the fringe on top.
At one point, I said to Jimmie
It’s so nice to be out with you at something other than a theatrical event.
Or a doctor’s office, he quipped.