Questions & Concerns:
To describe her story, it can all begin with one word: “Terrified.” An extremely intelligent and pragmatic individual, Lisa found us through her own investigation via an online web search, but to use her words, she felt like “The more (she) researched and the more (she) read, the more confused and anxious (she had) become.”
Lisa had divorced her husband years ago, was incredibly successful, and while the information technology sector has come a long way, she was one of the very few females in the industry at the time. She had amassed a large sum of money for retirement, exercised conservative spending in all her endeavors, thoroughly enjoyed spoiling her grandchildren, but was petrified when it came to financial planning, investing, and especially the stock market.
As she went through our Wealth Management Process, Lisa quickly and easily became the single most anxious new client we had ever met, since the inception of our firm in 2001. It didn’t help that the U.S. Treasury downgrade unraveled just a few months after she hired us, and while we avoided a good portion of the drawdown that took place over that time period, the “noise” was ever-prevalent in the financial media, which sent Lisa into a nervous frenzy at the time.
We built a comprehensive, all-inclusive financial and retirement plan, which included a social security timing analysis and recommended investment model (in our most conservative portfolio). She was worried about long-term care needs, but in the end, her anxiety was unjustified, as our analysis revealed a lack of need for such planning and/or expense. Similarly speaking, while she was extraordinarily concerned about her lack of life insurance owned, our needs analysis proved that she did not need the little death benefit she possessed at the time, although she did choose to maintain the policy (and cost) due to her conservative predisposition.
Due to Lisa’s exceptional ability to save over the years, her insurance concerns were unfounded. However, we discovered an acute urgency for the development of an efficient estate planning strategy. Through the discovery process, we learned that her life insurance policy designated her ex-husband as her beneficiary, even though they had been divorced years ago. Furthermore, we identified language in her trust, will, and healthcare directive that also named her ex-husband as the executor with regard to financial decisions as well as Lisa’s end-of-life decision-making, should she become incapacitated at some point in the future (i.e. – DNR, the decision to “pull the plug,” etc.).
We spent a considerable amount of time with one of our trusted estate planning attorneys, building a plan for Lisa and her family, as well as extensive educational discussions in our office with regard to the stock market, the basics surrounding our tactical trend-following strategy, and what she could expect as our relationship grew over the years. Initially, we agreed to meetings every quarter, and although there is really not much that changes over the course of 12-weeks, the more time that elapsed, the more comfortable she became with our team, our strategy, and our culture.
Today, we struggle to get Lisa to come into our office, even for annual meetings, due to her incredibly low anxiety level at this juncture! While we are extremely proud of her level of education and understanding of the financial planning process, as well as how our relationship has developed over the past several years, we still feel that all clients should meet at least annually with their financial advisory firm, even if they have an extremely high comfort level with the firm and/or person they work with.