I have many special clients but lost a very special one this past week. Reading Margaret's obituary (name changed to protect her privacy) in the Star Tribune left me crying on Memorial Day. My husband and sons comforted me but her absence in my work life is a deep loss.
Margaret always called me when she needed something and I was always willing and able to help. Visiting a client at their home is rare but it's particularly valuable to assess how elder clients are managing on their own. Visiting Margaret's home to get a signature or help her log in to her accounts online was always a treat. Her gorgeous, colorful wallpaper made an indelible impression and the constant buzz of the TV in her kitchen nook gave us the opportunity to discuss the news of the day and not only how she felt about it but we'd discuss how her investments and taxes could potentially be effected as well.
Margaret counted on me to always be there for her to ensure she was making the best decisions with her money. As a financial caregiver for my clients, losing someone like Margaret is hard but my work for her will continue now that she's passed to ensure her wishes are implemented just the way she wanted as she laid out in her estate plan.
Many of my clients are older women who have entrusted me throughout the process of grieving their spouses and organizing their financial life in the new chapter of widowhood. Others have been single for many years either by choice or as their marriages dissolved. They are grateful to have a trusted confidante who boosts their confidence in financial matters.
Statistics validate the need for this kind of "trusted advisor" relationship for independent women. The following quote is one I've had posted at my desk since I heard it at a conference years ago:
"The woman in a couple is in most cases apt to spend a significant number of years alone, often as a widow. The average is 17 years."
Being a trusted confidante and financial caregiver to older clients motivated me to obtain the following credentials:
Certification as a Legacy Navigator
Lundeen Abrams Advisors “Legacy Workshops” provide an opportunity for you to reflect on the meaning of your life and the values you wish to pass on by writing a Legacy Letter. Also known as an Ethical Will, the reflection and writing process reveals the true essence of your personal story.
The estate planning process is much easier to do when you are clear on your values and the legacy you want to leave for your loved ones and community. This clarity of vision allows for focused strategy that is custom to you.
CLTC designation (Certification in Long Term Care)
Younger clients can count on me to help prepare them for their 80’s and 90’s by offering comprehensive solutions for planning for the significant expense of getting the best care when they lose some of their independence. Long Term Care Insurance is available in so many different formats now, you want to be sure the advisor or insurance agent you’re working with has all of them at their disposal, so you get a plan that fits what YOU need.
Losing a loved one is heartbreaking. As financial planners, we do our best to prepare for all scenarios and we aim to be the pillar of strength for our clients as they navigate the challenges of life, including death and disability. Losing a beloved client breaks my heart but I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have been of service.