The Fix: Seen, But Not Heard

The Situation

They knew this day would come — but they didn’t know just how soon.

A couple in their mid-70s is now facing the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. One spouse is dealing with a significant decline in their health, while the other is working hard to support them through the painful process.

Thankfully, they’re not alone. With three grown kids, they both have a lot of love and support. One of their children even has power of attorney and is heavily involved in their financial circumstances. But even still, they felt unsupported when it came to their finances.

They’ve had a long-term relationship with their financial advisor (a close family friend) and felt like they weren’t being listened to. Anytime they tried to discuss their goals with their advisor, they left feeling drained, frustrated and confused. Something had to change.

Planning

They turned to Helmstar to gain some clarity on what to do with the time and assets they had. After listening to their story and understanding their situation, we uncovered the following variables:

  • The couple had steady income from a few defined benefit pension plans and Social Security, which happened to cover a lot of their non-discretionary expenses.
  • The previous advisor recommended the clients put a large amount of money into an indexed variable annuity, which had a long redemption schedule.
  • The couple wished that any assets not used be passed down as an inheritance, since they were not drawing much more from the portfolio than that required by the IRS.
  • They had worked with an expert elder law attorney to take care of the legal aspects of their health issues.
  • The investment portfolio was not aligned with their short-term funding needs or their long-term goals.

Key Results

We worked closely with the couple and their family to make the most of their assets based on their timeline and unique situation. We gave them the following recommendations:

  • We helped consolidate and simplify their finances so they didn’t have to deal with multiple financial institutions. Part of this meant directing all dividends and IRA contributions to be sent to one bank account, so money flows in and out of it.
  • We created a cash flow plan for the next five years, helping them see where the money to accomplish their goals comes from, as well as any unplanned expenses.
  • We created a portfolio that aligned with their risk tolerance and long-term goals, allowing for short-term spending needs as well as long-term growth.
  • We helped unwind some of their illiquid holdings. We also found ways to easily get out of other holdings that were not readily tradable.
  • We provided education to their level of knowledge and desire, helping them understand the why behind every one of our recommendations.
  • We helped them through a stressful transition from their previous advisor who didn’t take care of their finances in the way they needed.

Impact

The couple now feels just as supported, valued and listened to by their financial advisors as they do by their own family. Rather than feeling frustrated at their financial circumstances, our clients can trust we’re looking out for them and focus on the time they have together. Their finances are now being handled in a way that makes the most of their time, reaching both long-term and short-term goals.




This scenario in principle actually occurred to a THG client. The facts, names, and dollar amounts of this situation have been changed to assure anonymity. This is not a client testimonial and does not represent an actual client’s facts.

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