In an attempt to be more attuned to the financial and life goals of senior women for both this blog and my financial planning practice, I recently attended a web-based presentation titled "Successfully Advising Women in Transition" as part of a series on Women & Investing, sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional and Investment News.
The session covered a lot of different financial issues women face, either in widowhood or after a divorce. But I was struck by one statistic that has got me thinking about client relationships in financial planning: 70 percent of women fire the couple's financial adviser after the death of their spouse.
While the statistic came from a study of wealthy women investors, it still speaks to any adviser working with couples as clients. It means that her needs in the financial planning process aren't being met by the adviser.
If the woman doesn't feel her life goals, risk tolerance and investment preferences are being met in the advisory relationship while her husband is alive, she's likely to change advisers when she's the sole decision maker.
Make sure your views are heard
I'm not concerned about what financial advisers can do to keep you as a client after your husband dies. But it's important to speak up while he's alive and tell the adviser about your life and financial goals, so that you both are getting what you need out of the advisory relationship.
How to accomplish this goal? It could mean that you meet both separately and as a couple with the financial adviser to discuss your finances and goals. It's the adviser's job to consider both spouses' needs in the planning process.
Multiple marriages and blended families complicate the process, but that just increases the need for the couple to discuss goals and plans, and to work with an adviser toward accomplishing them.
Couples: Do you feel the family finances and goals are a collaboration? Do you work with a financial professional? Does that professional treat you both as clients?
Read about 5 steps to effective investing as a couple.
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