Why the Typewriter?

Surely a financial advisor’s toolkit includes spreadsheets, laptops and maybe even an ancient calculator or adding machine with tape. So why does a typewriter represent who I am?

Long before the internet or even cable television, when kids found entertainment in the strangest or simplest places, I used to spend hours in my parents’ basement teaching myself how to type. A full supply of ribbons and reams of yellow typing paper were my childhood equivalent of a full tank of gas and a half a pack of cigarettes. So yes, I was weird.

I was still weird when, as my friends were studying for their science, law or finance degrees I decided to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. With an equally impractical minor in History. Imagine all that typing! Four years of endless term papers and no word processors. No cut and paste. No backspace or delete. It was either editable with Liquid Paper or it meant re-typing the entire page. Or sometimes the entire paper.

Four years of intimate nights with my typewriter resulted not only in a deep (and subsequently useless) understanding of Greek sensibilities, the Victorian consciousness and contemporary feminist reactions to Margaret Atwood, but it also resulted in the added bonus of a typing speed of 85 wpm. It turned out my humanities education wasn’t as useless as my parents thought after all. Soon after I graduated I was hired as a financial statement typist in a local accounting firm.

I typed like the wind (and typed, and typed). I watched and listened as each set of draft financial statements changed after each conversation with the client. I began asking more and more questions and it wasn’t long until I fell in love with the art of business. A few years later I moved to Vancouver, went back to school and spent almost every spare evening and weekend studying, buried in text books and writing exams.

Today I spend much of my professional life analyzing financial statements, statistics or key performance metrics and translating them into a language my clients understand. I’ve also customized my keyboard to sound like a typewriter when I type. It helps with my thought processes and it makes me feel productive.

So yes, I’m still weird.

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