When your fiduciary is your friend

As I have mentioned before, one of the greatest blessings of a long career in this field is that my clients become my friends. With this and all great blessings comes a deeper responsibility: I want to do right by my friends. Last week I had a meeting with a friend who has been a client for nearly 40 years. We have seen each other through many of life’s sweetest and most challenging moments – the college graduations and marriages of our children, the deaths of our spouses. Through those times I supported my friend the same way you support your friends – I sent and received cards of congratulations and condolence, I attended and hosted both heart lifting parties and heart breaking funerals. But, as her financial advisor, I also remained keenly aware of our fiduciary relationship. Together, we set goals and designed a plan to achieve them. We allocated her resources in a way that we hoped would both protect her and allow her to achieve her investment and legacy planning goals. When her husband unexpectedly lost his job at a paper mill, we met immediately and they left my office assured that they would be okay financially. Given their age and risk tolerance, we positioned their retirement account with an eye towards growth and a baseline of protection in an annuity. We tweaked that allocation through the years as their risk tolerance changed, and took a close look at it years later when her husband died unexpectedly. So last week, we reminisced about all we had been through and how well we had worked together. That small annuity we purchased in 1990 will provide her with an income stream through 2020. Because of the tweaks we made when her husband passed away, she has other sources of protected income that she can turn on in 2020. Meanwhile, her investment portfolios continue to grow. It’s especially sweet when… | Read More »