As a new widow, you probably feel like you’re in the middle of an emotional rollercoaster, caught somewhere between grieving over the loss of your loved one and trying desperately to regain a stable foothold on life. The last thing in the world you need to worry about is the advice you receive from your financial planner. Yet all too often, new widows find themselves in a situation they don’t feel entirely comfortable with. They have the wrong planner. Your husband and his planner may have had a great rapport together, but somehow you feel awkward and unsure when dealing when him. You may even feel bullied by some of the decisions he continues to make based solely on the wishes of your late husband. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to take a hard look at the relationship and seek the advice of a new financial planner.
1. Now is the time to evaluate what YOU want in life. What are your goals and dreams? It’s okay if those aren’t the same as they were before your husband’s passing. If you always wanted to take a trip to Europe, list it as a goal. Would you like to relocate closer to your children? Or give more to a charity? Take some time to really think about your life and the new goals you want to accomplish. Get to know the new you.
2. Ask for referrals. Chances are your friends and relatives have advisors they respect and would recommend. Ask them for their honest opinion. Get a list of names and start making some appointments for a consultation.
3. Ask the right questions. As with any profession, a financial planner should have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. After all, you’re going to trust this person to help ensure your continued financial success. Find out about her experience and educational background. How long has she practiced? How many clients does she currently have? Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Finally, ask for a Disclosure Form ADV Part II. This form is required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and should be readily available.
4. Verify their credentials. While it may be difficult to verify some things, the SEC maintains records of professional licensures. They should be licensed in the state where they practice as well as your state of residence, if different. If they aren’t, why not? Also, do they belong to any professional organizations? A call or Google search can alert you quickly to any questionable background information for most financial planners.
5. Never underestimate the power of intuition. At the end of the day, you and your financial planner must work as an effective team to ensure you reach your financial goals. Just because someone looks great on paper doesn’t necessarily mean that person is the right fit for your life. If your gut is telling you that something is not quite right, listen to it! There is a reason for your unease. And don’t worry; the right person is out there. As with anything you really should shop around until you find the perfect fit for your needs.
Be patient. Have a healthy level of skepticism and remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. And ask a lot of questions. You’re looking for a trusted partner to help you navigate the rest of your life.
To learn more about Russ Thornton, visit his website www.wealthcareforwomen.com.