Thursday, January 24, 2019

FINANCIAL PLANNING for THE AWKWARD WIDOW

Mr. Ralph LOVED the stock market, learning about people and the companies they run and managing the ups and downs of our money (posting daily prices on his huge spreadsheet!), so he was in charge of that aspect of our lives.  We would always talk buy/sell ideas together so I knew what was going on.  I am NOT a risk taker and I'm glad he did it.



I started a women's investment club years ago and we were together for ten years.  And did GREAT!  Although I have the knowledge, it is too nerve wracking for me on a daily basis.  And I feel to be wise, you do have to manage it every day.

After his death, I asked my Schwab contact about how to hire someone to manage things.  He's a great guy and always gives too much information (which I prefer to not having enough).  Since he already knew my conservative thinking, he arranged meetings with three "Schwab approved" financial planners.  I chose Evergreen Gavekal.



The guy assigned to be my "wealth consultant", Mr. X, was very personable.  He presented a plan based on my antirisk personality then sold off some of our (favorite) stocks and replaced with companies I have barely heard of.  He would email once or twice a year and schedule a face to face coffee date.  Each subsequent interaction became a little more uncomfortable.  He didn't like me asking questions.  When I would ask a question about the growth or lack thereof, he would reprimand me about how much I was spending out of the accounts to live on.

Late last year I took the time to look through statements and asked him to put together a short comparison of my accounts with several criteria side by side so I could understand them better.  After two weeks of no response, I kept emailing and leaving voicemails every day.  But he never had time to meet.  Which is FINE by me, I'd rather have email.  His next excuse was oh we can't just email important financial papers, we will have to encrypt them and then let you log in.

But I couldn't print them.  Oh no, he would have to print them.  It was sounding weirder and weirder.  I didn't want 48 pages of graphs and charts.  I wanted a one page SUMMARY .... starting amount of the account, Evergreen Gavekal fee amount (as a percentage and as a dollar amount), gain/loss and ending balance.

Finally got him to commit to a coffee date.  Then he didn't show!  I finally called my Schwab manager to tell him I wanted to end the relationship with Mr. X and as we were talking, he mentioned that another client was also having a challenging time with  Mr. X.  He asked if it would be okay if he called Mr. X as maybe he could explain better what I was asking for.

Two minutes later an angry and RUDE Mr. X called.  How dare I call Schwab????  I told you don't worry, I was working on it.  Even though I didn't want to, I agreed to meet.  He was drunk at 9am.  Pulled huge folders of reports and statistics.  Brought me a bottle of wine (peace offering), kept putting his knee against my leg.  I called the meeting DONE in 15 minutes just to get away.



I called my guy at Schwab to start the process over AND I searched independently for local successful financial managers, asked friends for recommendations and low and behold!  I found Ms. J at an all female firm in Portland.  She was our Schwab advisor in the past!


..... to be continued

10 comments:

  1. Oh my God! This is a perfect example of why I keep dragging my feet to find a financial adviser! I know I should have one but finding one to trust is a nightmare. A friend of mine had a similar experience with someone who a friend recommended to her.

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    1. The company is VERY highly rated. Just lucky me got the ding dong. A friend of ours IS a financial planner .... and they never have money and their kids had to earn a scholarship to go to college. We always had to tell him we couldn't work with friends.

      Just like any recommendation .... very subjective.

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  2. Ugh! What a nightmare! I'm glad you left Mr. "X" as financial manager and didn't let him intimidate you.

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    1. UGH is right. I felt very intimidated ... but I bucked up (for a change) and had the final meeting. UGH UGH UGH

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  3. OMG is right! Aside from his lack of cooperation, I hope you reported his actions to someone higher up. This man should not be in business!!

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    1. After I made the decision to fire him and when I found a BETTER consultant ... I did send an email to the head of the consultants. I got a very nice note back. I also suggested that someone higher up should contact clients once a year to keep a finger on the pulse of their business. They may have gotten info on him BEFORE it got so bad ...

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  4. I hope he hasn't absconded with some of your $$$$.A little off the top every quarter. Would you notice?

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    1. No missing money. I check my statements every week! Credit cards, Schwab and checking. Thank goodness!

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  5. Good grief! I can't tell you how this post hits home for me today. We are not loving the financial guy we chose about a year ago - recommended by a friend. We gave him some cash we wanted to invest. All he can think about is getting his hands on our 401K. He can't stop asking about it. We're looking for someone else. I hope Ms. J works well with you.

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    1. Go with your gut!!!!! Tell him not to ask about 401(k) again or you’re ending things. Start looking and interviewing. Unless he is increasing your $$$ beyond your wildest dreams, move forward. You both will feel so much better!

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