When we talk about financial planning, I suspect many people default to thinking we’re only talking about investing. But at Strathmore Capital, we know from personal experience that it includes so much more. A recent story I heard about a friend of a friend makes it all too clear that while investing decisions matter, we can’t afford to ignore the other parts of our financial lives.
The story starts out simple enough. A successful man in his 30s remarried after a divorce. His new wife had been married before, too, and they both had children from those relationships. After three years together, things were going really well. They had no reason to think their life together wouldn’t continue as expected. Until it didn’t.
The woman who had the seizure never intended to slam her SUV into this young man’s car. It was a horrible accident that affected everyone involved. As difficult as it was to deal with losing a spouse, there was more to come for this young widow that made the situation even more painful and stressful.
After his first divorce, this young man changed the beneficiary of his life insurance policy from his ex-wife to his mother. As they were going through his papers, his now-widow discovered two things:
1) His mother was still the beneficiary of his life insurance policy
2) He’d written a to-do list that included changing the policy to name his wife
It won’t surprise you to discover what happened next. Legally, the widow had no claim to the policy, and the mother wasn’t inclined to honor the wishes of her son. She justified the decision with an explanation that she’d expected her son to help her in old age.
So, at a time when the family needs to come together, this family was arguing over money. The blame came down to a to-do list with an important, but not obviously urgent, a task left undone. I’m willing to bet too many of us have at least one of those important things left undone in our lives. We tell ourselves we’ll get to it—eventually.
One of our jobs at Strathmore Capital is to close the gap between “done eventually” and “done now.” We make it a point to understand everything about your financial life. It’s our job to ensure things like changing a beneficiary don’t get left in a stack of papers on a desk.
The story I shared above has a little bit of a silver lining. The mother-in-law agreed to use some of the life insurance to pay the balance on the home mortgage. While it doesn’t solve all the widow’s immediate financial concerns, it will help as she attempts to launch a new business. But I think it’s a safe bet that this young woman will do everything in her power to never leave something so important lingering on a to-do list.
I hope this newsletter gives you a nudge to remember that we’re here to help you with more than investing. We’re also committed to making sure your financial intentions are respected and become a reality for you and your family. As always, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions.