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The loss of a husband and wife is the most difficult experience you may face in this life.
With the understandable flurry of emotions you may face, it’s probably hard to imagine taking concrete steps to secure your financial future. But this is exactly the time to do it. This is what will put you on the path out of this loss with the tools, skills and strength to be at the helm of your finances.
Obviously, money problems can be one of the biggest stresses in life, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you are ready to take control of your financial situation, you may need more clarity and instructions. You may have more serious questions about your financial future, such as how to make money lately.
You may also need assistance in settling your spouse’s property, transferring assets to your name, closing accounts, updating beneficiaries, and planning for your future needs. A financial advisor can help with all these issues.
Various polls show that almost 80% of women will at some point become the only ones in their lives who make financial decisions. Moreover, many widows will spend decades controlling their own finances.
To date, half of all widowed women in the United States are under 59 years of age. Because women have an average life expectancy of 79 years, this means that these women often manage their finances on their own for at least two decades.
While some women like to manage their finances on their own, others prefer to work with a counselor. For those looking for guidance on key issues such as real estate planning, tax planning and long-term financial planning and investing, it is important to work with a financial advisor who understands your unique needs and goals.
A recent study by UBS found that 85% of women manage day-to-day spending, but only 23% are in the lead when it comes to long-term financial planning. Thus, although women are active in their day-to-day financial affairs, they do not necessarily have experience in making long-term decisions on financial planning and investment portfolio management.
You may have already had a relationship with a financial advisor before your husband’s death. If you like this person, then it’s time to schedule a meeting with him to “get acquainted” and discuss your future financial plans.
However, you can turn to another counselor who feels more appropriate. If you still decide to change, know that you are not alone. By this time, 80% of widows are turning to financial advisors within a year of their husband’s death.
Why? Because in many cases the advisor had a relationship with the deceased husband and never fully involved the wife in the financial planning and investment processes.
It is important to take your time and find a financial advisor whom you trust and someone who understands your specific financial needs and goals.
Truth be told, anyone can call themselves a “financial advisor”. The fact that someone says they are a “financial advisor” does not mean that they have some specific education, experience, experience or certification that actually entitles them to give financial advice.
There are advisors, brokers, broker-dealers, certified financial planners, certified financial analysts, certified investment management analysts, investment advisers and capital managers to name a few. Of course, choosing an advisor can be confusing and challenging.
The bottom line is that the financial advisor you choose should be a trusted advisor for a fee only.
A survey of investors conducted by Personal Capital found that nearly half of Americans mistakenly believe that all financial advisors are trustees who should always act in the best interests of their clients. But this is simply not true.
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A financial advisor who adheres to a fiduciary standard is legally obliged to act in your best interests. Trust consultants should put the interests of their clients above their own.
Others, who call themselves advisors, adhere only to the standard of fitness, which means they should offer only those products that suit you – even if they are more expensive and earn higher commissions.
Also, only paid financial advisors make money from the fee you pay for their services. These fees may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, in the form of an hourly or fixed rate. Almost all paid consultants are proxies.
No matter which advisor you choose, you need to make sure you know how they make money. This will help you determine if their recommendations are really best for you.
In fact, an alarm should go off if the counselor you’re interviewing doesn’t clearly explain how they receive compensation. If the structure of their fees is unclear, ask them to clarify the details.
You should also be alert if they offer to meet with you only once a year. An annual date is not enough, especially after the loss of a husband and wife. You deserve an advisor who will be available to you through all the ups and downs of the new path you are paving.
Your relationship with your financial advisor should be positive. When you leave your advisor’s office, you need to feel heard and know that your goals, priorities, and concerns have been considered.
Working with a financial professional requires you to be vulnerable to very personal aspects of your life – especially after the loss of a spouse.
Remember that you pay for the time and services of your counselor just as you pay for a doctor or lawyer. You should always feel encouraged to ask questions and empowered by the awareness that you are in the driver’s position of your financial life.
– Stacey Francis, President and CEO of Francis Financial