by You were happily married for 40 years. You worked hard. Together you brought up two children. It wasn’t easy. Long days. Lot’s of stress, especially in the early years. But raising a family was something that you were proud of. You were financially healthy. Your husband John took care of the long-term investment planning, and you took care of the day-to-day household budgeting and family vacations. You’ve always enjoyed physical health.
Then the unthinkable happens. Your husband complains of chest pains, has a stroke and within 30 days he’s gone. Just like that.
Where do you begin? You were never really interested in the details of the financial part of your marriage. John had a knack for this type of thing, and he enjoyed following the market. He had a long relationship with his broker Harry, but you rarely ever spoke to him.
Shortly after John dies, Harry calls, expresses his condolences and begins to explain to you
the details of your portfolio which consists of 40 individual stocks. You have no clue what he’s talking about. Harry seems like a nice man, but you begin to wonder if he is really the right fit for you.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It happens frequently. It’s no wonder that many widows fire their Broker and find a new Broker or Financial Advisor.
So how does a new widow pick up the pieces of her financial life and start over again? Where
do you begin? You were never really good at making financial decisions.
Well that’s exactly where you need to begin. Like any skill, making financial decisions takes
Perhaps you have been in a situation in your life where money chatter–I call it mental gremlins– begins to fill your mind with doubt. Can I do this, you ask yourself? Uncertainty and a lack of confidence can lead to procrastination. This happens to all of us. We are unsure of what to do, so we put the problem on the back-burner and avoid making a decision altogether.
One skill you’re going to need to sharpen your is ability to ask a financial professional good
questions. Nothing to get nervous about. Think about Values-based questions concerning areas of your entire life which are important to you. Notice, I didn’t say your financial life. I said your entire life.
Since money usually touches every part of your life, an intuitive financial advisor with the right experience ought to be able to connect your personal values to specific financial
strategies, choices and recommendations. If the advisor is unwilling or unable to do so, you may be speaking to the wrong advisor.
For example, one of your first questions might be whether or not you have enough money to sustain your standard of living. Here are 7 legitimate questions you can ask from this one concern:
- Are you able to help me organize the income I’m currently receiving from all my financial resources?
- Can you help me understand what my monthly expenses are?
- Can you then help me organize all the assets in my various portfolios? Can you help me understand the purpose of each portfolio?
- Are my assets allocated correctly? (Right balance of cash, stocks, bonds, alternative investments)
- Perhaps you can talk to me about matching these assets to my tolerance for volatility and loss?
- Can my resources generate more income? Would it mean more risk?
- I’m concerned about taxes. Can you explain to me the tax implications of each decision?
Try asking a few different advisors these questions. You’ll know which ones elicit the right amount of likability, honesty, and competence.
It’s important that you are able to ask good questions. Because if your advisor gives you a great answer to the wrong question, it’s of little value to you.