The Value of Advice: Competent Counsel in an Emergency

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, people often debate whether working with a financial adviser adds value. Articles appear regularly in both consumer and industry publications, with experts attempting to quantify the value in financial terms. To me, however, the value of competent, ethical advice can often extend far beyond the pocketbook. Today, I’d like to tell you another story based on some recent events at AMDG Financial to demonstrate my point.

A Health Emergency Creates Financial Concern

When we first encountered “Alice” (not her real name), she wasn’t an AMDG Financial client. I had met Alice socially when our kids were in school together, and she remembered I worked in the financial industry. Alice decided to contact me when her parents needed help, and I was pleased to offer assistance.

Alice’s parents – let’s call them Molly and Stan – had retired to Florida but returned to Michigan to be closer to family. After moving to Michigan, Stan became ill. When Alice reached out, Stan was under hospice care, and she and Molly needed guidance on how to pay for Stan’s medical bills. Molly and Stan’s investment accounts were still in Florida, and the advisers there hadn’t been helpful. Since Stan had handled the couple’s finances, Molly didn’t know much about the accounts. She and Alice arrived at our first meeting with multiple binders full of documents to review.

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Through a series of meetings with Alice and Molly, we were able to contact all of the firms where Molly and Stan had accounts. Some of the account reps or advisers were helpful and cooperative; others were not. Some of the couple’s contacts had moved on, so we needed to work with different representatives. It took a number of phone calls to determine correct balances and updated account information, so we could get an accurate idea of Molly and Stan’s financial position. Our goal was to identify funds Molly could use to help pay for Stan’s care. Eventually, we were successful.

Managing Annuities Creates Unforeseen Benefit

We found that Molly and Stan held several annuity policies – some with life insurance riders, and some without. I recommended cashing out the annuities without insurance riders to pay for Stan’s care, while keeping the policies with insurance riders in place. That way, Molly had enough to cover expenses until Stan’s benefits from the Veterans Administration kicked in, as well as an additional source of funds to help maintain her lifestyle if Stan was unable to recover. Molly was unaware of the life insurance riders and didn’t realize she could lose money if she decided to cash out the annuities that offered survivor benefits.

Unfortunately, Stan passed away a short time later, but Molly and Alice experienced peace of mind knowing that Molly would receive a payout from the annuities that held insurance riders. Molly chose to become a client a few days after her husband’s death, and we are now investing her life insurance benefits to help augment her retirement savings.

AMDG Financial’s Value

Sometimes, the benefit of working with a financial adviser transcends money. While we were glad to help find a source of additional funds for Molly after Stan’s death, we were even more pleased that we could help the family through one of its most difficult times and offer advice to help Molly become a better steward of her finances in the future.

If we had been able to work with Molly and Stan over a longer period of time, we could have ensured they would be ready for a possible health emergency, as well as many other kinds of emergencies that we could all potentially face. As you consider your own situation, would this kind of help be valuable to you?

At AMDG Financial, we provide potential clients with an opportunity to see us at work before they decide to hire us. Through a complimentary set of initial meetings, we discuss your goals, analyze your situation, and give you time to decide whether we’re the right advisory firm for you. To get started, simply schedule your first appointment. We welcome the opportunity to add value to your life.

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