Financial Planning’s Mission During Life Transitions
As summer slides into fall, signs of the changing seasons can be seen across the country and remind us of the rhythm of life’s changes. As financial planners, we are in a unique and privileged position to share in the rhythmic changes of our Clients’ lives. In fact, it is during periods of transition that financial planning takes on new meaning. When a Client experiences life changes, connecting with their financial planner proactively ensures they are aware of the opportunities and risks associated with the transition.
Over the course of a lifetime, everyone will experience life-changing events. In 1967, the psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe found there are 43 life events which could be considered a “major” life transition. Their research determined that each of these life changes contributes in varying degrees to how people experience stress in their lives1.
At Yeske Buie, one of our favorite phrases is “We’re Good People to Think With®.” This phrase has no greater significance than when Clients find themselves experiencing one of life’s many transitions. Some examples of life changes include becoming a parent, losing a job, purchasing a home, graduating from college, experiencing the death of a spouse, getting married, retirement, divorce, moving, managing a health crisis, and caring for aging parents. One of the ways we view our role during these life transitions is to act as a sounding board and guide for our Clients as they seek to navigate the impact the transition is having on them and their families. During periods of change, there is often a great need for mental clarity, hence the reason we believe it can be helpful to “walk an idea around the block” with Clients to determine what planning items need to be addressed so they can focus on navigating the transition.
One of our favorite tools to get someone thinking about current and upcoming life transitions comes from our strategic partner, Money Quotient®, and is called the Life Transitions Survey. We use this survey as a starting point to begin a discussion of what’s been happening in our Clients’ lives since we last met. A few other helpful Money Quotient tools we may share include:
Another way we aim to help our Clients through transitory stages is by applying policy-based financial planning®. We believe in providing Clients with sound financial planning policies that are broad enough to encompass any event that might arise, but specific enough so there is never a doubt as to what actions to take in the face of changing circumstances. It is through the development and application of grounded financial planning policies that we facilitate sound decision making in the face of a complex external world.
The goal of our resources and practices, of course, is to help one plan for change. This is not the same as predicting change; we know the future is fundamentally unpredictable because we live in a dynamic and ever-changing world. The role of a financial planner, then, is to help Clients think through the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead and to empower Clients to navigate life transitions confidently. We look forward to sharing in our Clients’ life journeys and we are always available to embrace the role of coach, active listener, or sounding board during life’s most turbulent events. If you find yourself experiencing one of life’s many significant changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.