My dad died of a sudden heart attack when he was just 60. My mom was devastated. Dad left behind a successful small business, three houses, and a decent amount of life insurance.
After a week of grieving, we met with the bank trust officer, a pudgy man sitting behind a huge mahogany desk in a plush office. He talked in hushed, paternalistic tones. He steered Mom to a big firm financial advisor, someone who would "take care of her." She really wasn’t given any other options, and she didn’t know any better.
We made an appointment to see the big firm financial advisor, a nice man who asked Mom a few questions and then did all the talking. He took everything she said at face value and didn’t offer alternatives or options. He made little effort to educate her. She wanted safe, she wanted income, she wanted simplicity. Fine. He put her money into risky investments that tanked. Within a short time, my dad’s life insurance proceeds were reduced to half. "Oh well," he said.
If only…Mom and Dad had established a relationship with an ethical financial advisor much earlier in their lives. They had an accountant, a lawyer, and an insurance agent, but they thought financial advisors were for wealthy people.
If only… Mom had known how to evaluate financial advisors and not just assumed that big firm advisors were all brilliant money managers with her best interests in mind!
Nearly everyone needs a competent, ethical financial advisor, they just don’t know it. Learn from my family’s mistakes. Find a trustworthy financial advisor who has your best interests in mind. Seek them out, ask for recommendations, schedule a consultation and ask questions.
Please, just do it.