My friend Mary’s husband died unexpectedly, leaving her to raise
their five-year-old son and tend to a generous life insurance settlement, while
learning to navigate life without her mate.
If that wasn’t tough enough, her first meeting with a new
financial advisor started with a foot-in-the-mouth message that stopped a
trusted relationship from forming right out of the gate.
“Congratulations on having such a tidy sum to re-start your life,”
the advisor said.
This was followed by a long pause, a punch to Mary’s gut, and the
temptation to leave the room just moments after she arrived.
The love of this woman’s life just died, leaving her alone to
manage everything in life they had dreamed to navigate together, and the
advisor’s first words were a message of congratulations!
“This is death money. How can you be so insensitive?” she said.
What could have bloomed into a collaborative, trusted relationship
was instantly derailed.
A Change Was in
The advisor’s ill-chosen words had Mary searching immediately for someone
new. She wanted the person responsible for helping with her finances to have
the presence of mind and compassion to appreciate the context of her situation
before considering how to engage in some sort of transaction.
These kinds of conversations take place every day to the dismay of
women who find themselves with sudden money from an inheritance, death, or
Seven out of 10 women will survive their spouses and be
responsible for tending to the day to day financial and household matters, as
well as tending to investments and other assets left behind.
These women deserve care, compassion, trusted and fiduciary advice
to support them in navigating their new lives.
How to Choose the
Right Financial Advisor for You
Here are five important factors to consider when choosing the
right advisor who can look after your interests in the best and worst of times.
These tips come from a conversation I had with CERTIFIED FINANCIAL
PLANNER Professional Steve Juetten:
Know What You’re
Ask how the advisor is compensated. If you aren’t familiar
with the different types of financial advisors, here’s a short report that can bring some clarity.
Ask About Credentials
Inquire about credentials and make sure you understand what they
mean. A fiduciary is an advisor who puts your interests front and center.
Anything less isn’t good enough.
Listen to your gut, your heart, and your head as you evaluate
whether the fit you have with the advisor feels right. If the rapport feels
forced, uncomfortable, or you sense any pressure to make a decision, walk away.
Consider Your Goals
Come to the meeting with some ideas around the important goals you
want to achieve with your new potential advisor as your guide.
You may have questions around how to make sure your sudden money
lasts as long as you do or other questions around anticipating and making the
most of your financial assets. This Ready Set Retire Quiz may help you come to clarity around your goals.
Take Your Time
Do nothing in a hurry. During the first few months, take care of
immediate needs, protect capital, and go slowly on major decisions. In some
circumstances of sudden wealth, we encourage clients to spend 10% of the
windfall on something that’s fun, but other than that, go slow.
Every day, life serves up unexpected surprises that can turn life
as you know it upside down in an instant.
That’s why finding the right guide to support you in navigating
the road ahead – in the best and most challenging of times – can be among the single most important decisions you make.
Have you ever stayed with an advisor because you didn’t know what
else to do or the right questions to ask? What did you learn from that
experience? Let’s start a conversation!