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When to Turn to an Advisor: After a Loved One's Death

| January 27, 2017
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We all know how quickly things can change in life. Even when we feel prepared, a significant life event can disrupt the best laid plans and cause stress and chaos. When emotions are running high, it’s easy to make a rash decision without taking time to think it through. One such life event is the death of a loved one.

I’ve worked with more than my fair share of clients who have experienced a death in the family, and while every person faces a unique situation, I believe everyone can benefit from the help of an advisor when they experience the loss of a loved one. Here’s why.

Making Sense of the Moment

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a gentleman who had recently lost his mother and received a sizeable inheritance. His initial plan was to donate money to his church, his daughter, and another loved one. He hadn’t at all considered himself and his future needs. During one of our early conversations, we got to talking about the legacy his mother would have wanted to leave, and what kind of future she likely wished to provide for her son.

When addressing the kind of life he deserved to live, he felt inspired with the vision of a better life for both himself and his family. He started taking his needs into consideration and thinking what realistically should be done with his inheritance, based on his financial situation and goals in life. Without getting into the details, I can say that these new objectives were much different than his initial ones.

If we return to the beginning, we see a man who was grieving. He couldn’t see beyond his initial plan of giving away his inheritance and spending it down in five years or less, which would have left him exactly where he was before he’d received the inheritance. Ultimately, however, he’d see through the fog of grief and think about himself and his family.

The Power of Communication

So, what happened? It wasn’t I who changed his mind; it was more so his ability to talk out the situation with a confidant and objective third-party. In the beginning, this man’s spirit and vision were broken. I wanted him to hear that I was going to help him heal and put himself and his future first. We focused on speaking openly and personally with one another, rather than focusing on numbers, accounts, or spreadsheets, to build a foundation of trust and establish an honest relationship.

This relationship of open communication and sharing personal stories isn’t uncommon in my business. Often times, people assume financial advisors just talk about numbers, goals, and the stock markets. In reality, I’ve spent countless more hours consulting and advising people to believe in something greater than they initially conceived — a vision bigger than percentages and dollar signs. I like to think of myself as a painter and my canvas is a vision for someone else’s life that they may have never considered possible.

One of Life’s Pivot Points

The death of a loved one is one of life’s “pivot points” — an event or moment in someone’s life where they have an opportunity to make an impact that could last a lifetime. In this case, it was a man and his inheritance from his mother. Decisions like these require thoughtfulness and time to make sure they can work out in the most appropriate manner.

Without a trusted and knowledgeable partner, it can be hard to see through the devastation of the moment. Sometimes, you need a shoulder to lean on to maintain a positive mindset and look for a positive outcome. In the case of losing a loved one, you face dozens of decisions, even if he or she has a well-outlined estate plan in place. Even if a parent or spouse has left you his or her life savings, you still must ultimately make the decision of how best to use it.

Losing a loved one is a stressful, overwhelming, and upsetting time in life, but you don’t have to make all the decisions alone. If you or someone you know has recently lost someone, I’m here to help, whether it’s to provide financial advice or simply listen and review your opportunities. When you are ready to chat, you contact me at (626) 529-8347 or email me directly at [email protected].

About Ricky

Ricky Biel, CRPC® is a wealth manager with Haydel, Biel & Associates, an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at [email protected].

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