Ma's Dilema

My Mom has had a new financial advisor for a year or so and now he has struck out on his own and has a team with him who work with people that have money....a lot of money. She recently signed up for his newest service and now she's really stressed about it. When I saw her last she showed me the little folder and how he has things broken down and things he will take care of, such as having her update her will and power of attorney papers. Reminding her to go for her annual checkup with her doctor, or when certain parts of her money might need to be moved around. She's more worried what my older brother will say because this service is very expensive, about $1800.00 every 3 months.

Older brother has met the man, but I have not. Of course he didn't really like him so that's why she's scared to tell him. I'm not worried if the guy is on the up-and-up, that's not the problem. My mom may be 81 but she's pretty sharp and doesn't fall for the Slick Willy's. My older brother is the Power of Attorney and I'm the back-up, so this guy doesn't have control over that part.

My mom grew up as poor as anyone in that era. After she met my Dad and moved to Spokane, they lived how we are living now, paycheck to paycheck. They moved to a small town and raised us 3 kids. I guess we didn't know we were poor, it was just how it was. It never changed for her, even after my Dad died at the age I am now. She dated someone for a few years but he was killed in an auto accident. Several years later I introduced her to a nice man who had lost his wife. He worked for the newspaper and I was a waitress and saw him every night. They dated for a while and then she moved to Spokane and they got married.

It was a big change for her, coming from basically poverty to now not having to worry about money. She still had that frugal mentality and still does really. He always took care of the finances and owned a lot of stocks and bonds (or whatever rich people have). Then one day he died suddenly....and there she was, a wealthy woman and not knowing what to do with it or about it. She would get the monthly statements and see the balances going down. She reached out to Charles Schwab where most of the money was held and they were no help. She finally found someone to take over her finances and to help her. Money was put here and there and she stayed with this woman for a long time. Then she met this newest fella, and he told her the money was in a lot of wrong places for long term.

I can't even pretend to know where she's got it or what it's doing, it's really none of my business. I am smart enough to know that I couldn't do it for her though. Either is my brother. He has done her taxes in the past but had to quit because it just got too complex and started giving him chest pains.

So here she is, finally with someone to take care of her affairs and she's afraid to tell my brother. I tried to help her put in perspective. She is paying for piece of mind that things will be taken care of when they should be. Neither my brothers or I would know how to do that. Yes, 5K a year IS a lot of money, but I have to try and look at it this way; that she is paying to assure that our inheritance is being looked after and growing. That's all she wants at this point in her life and he is making that happen. He has projected out until she turns 99 and if things go according to plan, she will have almost 1 million dollars to pass on to her 3 kids.

Wow! Can you see why she is so stressed? From rags to riches if you will. She said he would like to meet me but I'm undecided yet. I don't know if he's looking for a new client when the time comes that I do inherit her money or if he wants to start managing our finances now. I say good luck buddy. It's easy to manage it when you don't have it.

I'm not sure which is more difficult, living in poverty or suddenly being thrown into money and having to manage it. I would like the chance though with the latter; I've gotten pretty good at the poverty part.


Grumpy said…
I have never heard of a financial adviser who reminds clients of doctor appointments. Sounds fishy.

Make sure he charges a flat fee and isn't working on commission. That reduces the chances of him constantly churning her investments to generate fees for him.

Last, but not least, Google him. Amazing what you can sometimes find.
kden said…
He does charge a commission if he moves her money around, but it seems as though most of that has been put where it's going to stay. He watches the tax changes though and will move money to where it will do the best good for her. I do have a business card, may look into it more.
Claire MC King said…
Great post kden. I'm with you, I've lived my life always stressing about the lack of money. I'd rather stress about having it and what to do with it.
Along the lines of our smart blogger friend, grumpy, that's good advice. Also, check out his business with the Better Business Bureau. I had some fishy responses to my on line job search one time, and when I went to check them out through the BBB, #1-they didn't seem to exist, and the #2 company had a good rating.
Your mom is probably as smart as mine was, they know more and have more than they let on.
bill said…
If this was my mother I'd say she was being ripped off. Somebody needs to talk to her. Her adviser is looking after himself, not your mother or so it would seem. Just my opinion.

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