Rob and Mary came to see Peter Lee not long after Mary had received an inheritance. They were in their late forties, married with two teenage sons. Initially, it was simply a case of “where do we invest the money”. They sought Peter out having done some research and seeing his name on Mary Holm’s website – having a fee-based independent adviser was important. Like a number of our clients in similar situations, they had started by talking to a couple of advisers.
Peter offered them the chance to have an initial no-obligation meeting, which they took up. He spent much of that meeting (what we call a ‘Getting To Know You’ meeting) really delving down into their values, relationships, who and what was important to them, what they wanted to achieve with their money, their hopes, and fears.
We uncovered something really important: for Mary, in particular, it was a bittersweet moment: while the money gave them choices, the way they received the funds was a sad time for them. Mary wanted to know that the funds would be well looked after – that we would be “wise stewards” for the money and what it represented. She wanted to set aside at least some of the money for their sons, not to give it to them but to help them at critical times. In effect, she wanted to set up “mini trust funds”. We were able to share stories of other clients who had received an inheritance, had similar emotions, and for whom we were able to balance the conflicting needs and emotions.
OUR FINANCIAL LIVES ARE MESSY, WE WANT YOU TO SORT IT OUT
Rob and Mary didn’t immediately become clients. They wanted to think about who to use and their lives were hectic. Peter stayed in touch, and a few months later they both decided the time was right and that Peter was the right adviser – they liked our approach and related to Peter and he was the one person who had stayed in touch. We met again twice early the following year, produced a detailed analysis and set of recommendations, and then Rob and Mary decided to go ahead to implement all the recommendations. Along the way, we uncovered some gaps in their legal protections (no up to date Wills or Enduring Powers of Attorney) and were able to recommend a lawyer from our ‘expert panel’ to see. They also had a mix of insurance policies and wanted a review to see what they could cut down on and if there were any gaps. (While we no longer assess policies, we still identify key risks and work with professional insurance advisers who evaluate and implement insurance).
Rob and Mary had a fairly messy and complicated financial situation, with all sorts of investment policies, KiwiSaver, insurances and so on. While it started out as a “where do I invest the inheritance”, it turned into “our financial lives are messy, we want you to sort it out”. They liked our “complexity to clarity” approach.
As is the case for many of our clients, there was a fair amount of emotion involved. They wanted to make the right decisions, be wise stewards of the money, know their adviser shared that notion of stewardship.
They are typical of a number of clients who seek us out. Others do so because they want their money invested ethically and we have a strong reputation in that area. The common theme is our clients typically want someone who understands their emotions, their desires, and fears, to help them make wise decisions, and be their guide along life’s journey and so work with us for years.