The client who called us was in great distress. Her name is changed to protect her identity.
Deanne had just been in contact with her mother’s financial advisor. Score one for the advisor for remembering that his client had a family and for having enough information to even contact the daughter. BUT, what the advisor told the daughter was very distressing.
“Your mother is going to run out of money in about 24 months”, he said. Deanne’s heart almost stopped! She is 52 years old and has had enough trouble supporting herself, much less worrying about her mother. She felt sick and panicked. What was she going to do?
Deanne’s mother is 84. She is in generally good health and may be around for quite a while. What might the advisor have done in this case?
Most financial services professionals work very hard to grow a client’s assets and to protect them against running out of money. But let’s face it: many factors are in play and when you start with a modest amount, there might not be a way to make it last to the end of a person’s life. How much notice do you have? Should you warn the family of a potential coming disaster?
We think the least you can do in managing an aging investor’s assets is to look at worst case scenarios in the context of family. Aging clients with limited means could run out of cash to meet their needs. Is it your job just to manage the funds and whatever happens if there isn’t enough is the client’s problem? Or is it your job to think far ahead and work with family to do long range planning with someone like Deanna’s mother?
Consider this: every possible option should be considered to preserve your clients’ dignity and safety. “Lifestyle” and “accustomed standard of living” are out the window when the money on hand does not match the client’s longevity profile. How do you know your client’s longevity profile? That will be addressed in another post. Suffice it to say using actuarial tables and standard expected lifespans is not going to do the job. You need more information.
In this blog, we will explore how advisors can and should connect with family and we will provide tools to help you get better at it. Family will be the best source of data to help you figure out best ways to protect the aging investor from Deanna’s mom’s fate.
Should mother Deanna have joined forces, combined resources, shared housing, made plans for low cost housing? Alternatives are there.
Here at AgingInvestor.com, we are a nurse-lawyer, psychologist team advising elders and their families about the many issues affecting longevity. We’re here to help you with aging related issues you find in your work too.
Until next time,
Carolyn Rosenblatt and Dr. Mikol Davis