My mom, my extended family and I all had a large loss in early January with the passing of my dad Robert J. Crimmins. He led an extraordinary life touching all who connected with him in his many paths- professionally and personally. Click on the link next to read the summary of his life that was written when he was honored by his high school – St. Francis Prep in Queens: St. Francis Prep Article
As the opening quote stated, although it is hard to acquire, my Dad was able to acquire the knowledge of how to live this life well and he also did it naturally. Fortunately he passed along this knowledge to his family – but I for one – know that doing so naturally is difficult.
But what I want to highlight in this post is what he accomplished for his surviving spouse – Judy which should be a wake-up call for all men of his generation born in the 1930s and 1940s. For many in this generation, their wives do not have an active role in their financial affairs. Fortunately, my Dad ensured that my Mom knew exactly what would happen when he died and made sure that there would be enough assets available for her to maintain her lifestyle until she dies.
We have witnessed far too often the pain associated with the loss of a husband, followed by the uncertainty and fear associated with trying to determine how the widow will be able to accomplish generating income for the rest of their lives. But even more importantly, if they have not had a relationship with their financial advisor, they are often not comfortable dealing with this person. The lack of trust becomes a major issue.
It is vitally important that both spouses are aware of the financial plan as well as establishing comfort and trust with their financial advisor. We often discuss that we insist on meeting both members of the couple from the start to determine what each member is hoping to accomplish in their lives and bring some insights on how that may be possible. Just as importantly, we view the partnership as being with both members of the couple to ensure that trust develops over time.
By doing so early in the potential relationship, it allows for each member to be vested in and have knowledge of what is going on inside of the plan as time goes on. Then, when the unfortunate end-of-life occurs to one of the members, they eliminate the uncertainty and fear associated with maintaining their lifestyle without their spouse.
We added a recent client after the husband realized that his wife did not want to deal with their current financial advisor as he made her feel uncomfortable. The husband realized that this would be a major problem if he died first. Thankfully they both attend the initial and subsequent meetings with us.
I discussed in an earlier post about the aging brain and the difficulty of identifying predators that seems to smell blood in the water when a personal tragedy has occurred. The post can be found here: Aging Brain. Make a point of providing for your spouse an enormous benefit by ensuring that they are comfortable with the advisor, are aware of the plan and why decisions have been made, and most importantly, what would occur upon the death of the spouse.
And a big thanks to my Dad for taking such good care of my Mom!
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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