Now that our kids are all over 5 feet tall, hubby and I feel socially obliged to turn up at a bank at least once a year to discuss our financial status.
After a quick batting of niceties, the bank manager’s highly recommended twenty-five year old financial guru in his stretch fit shirt with oversized tie and gold cufflinks squashes us into his private interview cubicle and asks,”What are your immediate plans?” and “What do you see yourselves doing in ten years time?”
Before the insides of our brains can process the gazillion possibilities between tomorrow and the next ten years, the gaping silence makes the young man break into a light sweat, forcing him to come straight in with, “So how’s your super?” quickly followed by, “Do you need more insurance with that?”
The mention of the words superannuation and insurance are all I need to start looking for an exit. Ten minutes later we have escaped for coffee and a return to our reckless lifestyle until next year’s humiliation.
So what to say next time?
“Well Ms Bank Manager we’ve come to talk to you about planting a rainforest as part of our superannuation plan seeing how the current ones are being thoroughly decimated.”
“And we’d like to put in an acre or two of permaculture so we can live more sustainably and not have our food travelling all over the world unnecessarily.”
“We wouldn’t mind if your brilliant financial minds bent themselves to calculate the financial return to the planet of planting at least 100 trees every year for the next ten years (which we wish we’d done from the time we were your age) so that an under-storey of ferns and palms can grow beneath them and hold the water and the soil so there are fewer landslides and less flooding.”
“We’d also love you to cost out the social and health value of planting more trees on street corners and in neglected parts of town and along footpaths so people can walk through a lovely shady canopy on their way to work or school.”
“We’d like to invest in green walls in front of all those great glass towers we seem to be building so madly so we can be reminded of our insignificant transience and maybe you could also calculate the reduction in cost from burning fossil fuel to run air conditioners which seems rather stupid.”
“We want to plant more grasses for birds and more flowers for bees and more thorny shrubs for small animals and mix them in with rocks and wood for insects and so maybe you could work out the value of biodiversity and what that adds to the food chain for all of the Earths’ inhabitants.”
But maybe we’ll just say “We’d like to do a renno on the kitchen and take the kids on a holiday to Surfers and maybe get a monster SUV we can drive around town for no reason.”
And the young financial advisor will shake our hands firmly, raise our overdraft immediately, throw in some extra insurance at no cost and hand over “How I learnt to forget about the GFC and re-embrace the capitalist delusion” T-shirts. Hooray.
(Photos taken at Monash Uni Clayton Campus to show the alarming consequences of continuing to plant trees.)