In case you have not read the first blog in this short series, I invite you to do so.
Since completing it, I have given thought to which of the many client stories I wanted to share with you.
The first story is that of a recent widow who was referred to us. When I met with Alice, (not her real name, of course), I found her to be very clear and communicative in spite of the recent and sudden passing of her husband.
The stories she told me about her experiences in the financial services world both angered and saddened me. Assumptions were made that, of course, she would not be able to “handle her own affairs nor make thoughtful decisions” primarily because she was a woman. On several occasions, male advisors from different companies assured her that “they knew what was best” and even provided “solutions” without bothering to understand the client and her life.
In contrast, I discovered, that when given the opportunity, this woman was quite amazing in how quickly she was adjusting to new life and found her thought process to be remarkably clear.
This included her clarity of thought that the “solutions” provided probably benefited the advisor more than they would benefit her. Upon discussion and review of the various recommendations, I supported her thinking.
As with all of our clients, I believe there is a mutual exchange of value. I certainly learned a great deal… about making assumptions and generalizations, about how women -whether married, single or widowed- are often perceived to have limited capacity in the financial world and about the importance of shared conversation- as opposed to the arrogance of the “I know what you need” position.
And our new client learned to trust her instincts, that she was very capable of participating in the decision-making process, and the importance of “taking the journey at her pace” as opposed to one dictated by someone else.
She also learned that Resonate offers a safe space for widows. In fact, our practice is growing because of our commitment to creating safe space for all. Couples proactively create relationships with us …”So that we know we are with someone we can trust… now and especially during life’s most difficult and vulnerable times.”
To the purveyors of the never-ending noise that it is only the tangible fees and expenses that actually represent the core value provided by financial professors, I respectfully ask:
“How much are the following worth?”
- To work with someone you trust;
- To develop meaningful relationships and valuable insight through thoughtful discussions;
- To know that you are in a safe space to talk about anything;
- To be in a mutually respectful and caring relationship;
- To discover how money and investing are intended to support us in living our ideal lives as opposed to simply measuring its performance and fee structure;
- To ask the question, “How does money help me achieve my life purpose?”
So to anyone who values safe space combined with thoughtful, personal, caring conversation which also integrates the complex world of finance, investing, taxes, cash flow and planning… Welcome to Resonate!
Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®