Agony actuary: Rumour has it
Dear Agony Aunt
For the last two years I have enjoyed a satisfactory business partnership with "Adele" and in that time we have built up a moderately successful employee benefits consultancy.
But in the last several weeks, I have noticed a change in Adele's behaviour. She has been dressing more smartly, has a spring in her step, and seems to spend a lot of time checking her phone. Last Friday she left the office at 4 O'Clock wearing a new perfume and, when asked about this, was evasive.
I am reluctant to challenge her, but I am worried that she's going to job interviews elsewhere. Should I raise the issue?
Name and Address Supplied.
Dear Name and Address Supplied,
I am sorry to hear this. From your letter, it seems certain Adele is going to job interviews elsewhere. This happens to a lot of business partners at one point or another. It happened to my friend Bruce, for example.
Bruce met his business partner, Ruth, in the course of their professional work. Their eyes met in a debate at Staple Inn, and within a few days they were sitting in a restaurant discussing their future. They discovered they had a similar and rare take on the world, in believing The Stone Roses' second album superior to their first. But the thing that sealed their love was the discovery that the book both would take to a desert island, if forced by Kirsty Young at knifepoint to do so, was the Exley-Mehta-Smith paper from 1997.
Three months later Bruce and Ruth set up their own mortality consultancy, The Qx Factory, and all looked rosy.
Slowly, sadly, but perhaps inevitably, disagreements began to creep in. Bruce made a disparaging comment about Ruth's application of the Lee-Carter model to a particular dataset. She started to roll her eyes when he explained, for the hundredth time, why the short, medium and long cohort tables were the most appropriate tables at the time and should never have been regarded as permanent solutions.
It ended badly for Bruce and Ruth. He went on the public record as saying consultants should hold off using the 2015 CMI Projections Model while we garnered proper insight into the reasons for the unusually high 2015 mortality rates. Upon which Ruth packed her bags and left.
It is the small things that ruin relationships. As the philosopher Paul Simon put it so memorably, she liked to sleep with the winter open, he liked to sleep with the winter closed. So goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
But turning to your own situation, what can you do? There is one obvious solution to this common middle-age malaise, and that is to take a sudden interest in cycling. Time and again studies have shown that men of your age make great advances in their personal lives by donning lycra and wobbling precariously up and down the public highways, at great risk to pedestrians and motorists. If you spend more than £2000 on this lifestyle change, that makes it more likely to bed in as well.
Regarding Adele, however, show her all the support she needs. Write her a good reference. If she ever calls you for professional advice on an actuarial issue, remember that evening in Paris when you whispered sweet nothings to one another and talked about the Modigliani-Miller Theorem?
To to conclude, Name and Address Supplied, where does this leave us? No further advanced than where we started. All in all, I would advise a temporary separation between you and "Adele".
Sorry not to have been more help.