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Newfound Wealth After Death Comes at a Price

As Gordon stood up from the mammoth mahogany table, his eyes fixated on his long-time friend and client, Joe, I knew he was enraged. “Joe,” Gordon said loudly, “you have disrespected my staff, my work and me today.”

“After all the years we’ve worked together, and especially now, in your time of sorrow, you are intolerable! I’ve never seen this side of you and, frankly, I don’t want to ever see it again,” Gordon said. Joe was silent as Gordon’s booming voice filled the cherry wood paneled conference room.

My friend and neighbor had asked me to join him to discuss his inheritance with Gordon. Like Gordon, I have never known Joe to be rude or obnoxious toward anyone … until this day.

Know when to ask for help

Like most people who have suffered a loss, Joe was shaken by his father’s death. He was very close to his father, relying on him for many different things, including financial and personal guidance. It was now that Joe needed professional help.

Unfortunately, Joe’s intense feelings were overshadowed by directed anger toward doctors, nurses, God, his dad, his loved ones, himself and, yes, Gordon, too.

Joe seemed hostile toward the associate that greeted us at the office. He showed anger, mistrust and outright bitterness toward Gordon. At one point, he challenged Gordon’s decision by blurting out, “Why? You don’t think I can handle money?”

The scene with Gordon was overwhelming. Joe was strained, out of control and was a long way from liking or trusting anybody. Gordon and Joe’s relationship appeared over, which was sad, considering they knew each other before Gordon became an advisor. But Gordon had to do what he thought was best.  Allowing a client to berate or be rude to anyone in his office was unacceptable.

One advisor told me, “Sometimes you must resuscitate through education. Think of yourself as a private school, not a public school, you don’t have to accept everyone. However, it is sad when you cannot.”

What will be will be

According to Psychology Today: “When your mom or dad dies, it is only natural to feel consumed by a combination of pain, fear, and deep sadness at the loss of such a significant influence in your life.”

When individuals experience a dramatic life-changing event, a professional mental health practitioner can help them work through the anguish.

Financially speaking, the amount of money is not the dictating factor in Joe’s failing personality, it’s the fact that the amount is simply more than what Joe is used to having. Deep down, he feels guilty about it for reasons only he can explain.

Later, he apologized to Gordon. Thankfully, Gordon accepted. He said it was not the first time he had been through bereavement hostility. What a life lesson for us all!

Your advisor has been there before

Joe may not have regarded his inheritance money as something he should have, and in the process, almost lost the one person he could trust to do right by him with it.

Like Gordon, financial advisors understand the family, the cash flow needs, the estate plan and the risk profile. They know what it takes to accept the client as a partner in the process working alongside their clients as an educator and in achieving success. 

Advisors also know how to illustrate wealth as an enabler to pursuing life passions and goals. Clearly, there is so much to pursue when building strong relationships, establishing trust and efficiency, knowing what makes investors tick, understanding their goals and caring about their families, their businesses and their futures.

And emotion dictates sound decision-making, good advisors get to the heart of the matter quickly to provide proper solutions.

Like when the media conspires toward short-term thinking, rather than focusing an investor’s attention on progress made toward their long-term goals.

Rather than making comparisons to market benchmarks like the Dow and the S&P, advisors tell their clients that rarely are benchmarks relevant to long-term goals anyway, so why focus on the illusion of “winners” and “losers” in a portfolio?

When this happens, people instinctively want to get rid of their losers and hold on to their winners, thus throwing a well-thought-out asset allocation strategy right out the window. Not a levelheaded strategy by any means, is it?

So when you face emotional issues of any size, consequence, scope and urgency, discuss them with your financial advisor. They’ll understand.

At Hefren-Tillotson, we strive to be recognized for our unrivaled combination of successful wealth management solutions and exceptional client service.  We will become and remain your most trusted advisor.

DISCLAIMER: Past performance does not predict future results. This report is based on data obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Hefren-Tillotson does not, nor any other party, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report or make any warranties regarding results obtained from its usage. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the firms judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities herein mentioned.
Hefren-Tillotson

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Hefren-Tillotson Inc. is a leading diversified financial services firm providing investment and retirement plan management and comprehensive, financial planning through MASTERPLAN® for individuals and businesses. The firm’s wealth management services are administered by Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter holders, attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters, and CPA/PFS’s. Hefren-Tillotson offers corporate services including 401(k) retirement planning, executive financial counseling, fiduciary reviews and workplace financial planning seminars. Founded in 1948, the firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has offices located in Pittsburgh, Butler, Greensburg, North Hills, and South Hills.