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If You Die Today?

If you die today, can your spouse manage your financial affairs? Actuary tables say that most likely the first person to die will be the male. So, is your wife prepared to take this on? If you are in a same-sex marriage, this is also a legitimate question. Are both partners involved in the financial affairs of the family?

The answer to this question according to a recent Wall Street Journal article is No. The survey completed by the Journal indicated that 75% of spouses are not prepared to take on the retirement planning. Beyond that, once the wife becomes a widow, the majority say there is not a financial plan to fall back on. The journal article goes on to say with the proper support widows are up to the task to manage their financial concerns.

In client meetings I encourage discussions that include being prepared if a spouse/partner dies. I plan the meeting accordingly to ensure that both individuals in the relationship understand possible situations and scenarios they may encounter with regard to their financial plan. I educate the clients on an on-going basis and offer clarification of terms and phrases that they may not understand. I find by taking our time and being thorough that my clients understand how their risks, planning, and investments work together. It may take several meetings to become familiar with the verbiage, but it gives clients confidence to work with me to manage their financial affairs.

A significant consideration in choosing a Financial Advisor is trust. In addition to being forthright, honest, and working in the best interest of our clients, I believe the contributions we make and the reputation we develop as residents in our communities also foster this trust. I recently had a married couple that decided to work with me, moving from another advisor because the husband did not feel confident in the care his wife would receive from the other advisor after he was gone. Moving slowly through meetings, educating about the markets and checking in on understanding of our conversations, while important, are not the only key ingredients in working as team toward your financial goals. Without trust in your Advisor, all the planning in the world will not be effective. Couples should find a Financial Advisor they can trust, now and when one partner is gone.

Need a retirement plan, give me a call, I can help.

Peter B. Smith is a Family Wealth Advisor at the Planning Solutions Group in Fulton, MD and is an Annapolis resident. He can be reached at 301-543-6008 or by email at
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