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New Year, New Financial Life

December 31, 2019

Am I going to be okay? We all hear these words in our lives. Maybe your best friend asked you this question as she grieved the death of the partner that she loved. Perhaps your Mom said this to you as she worked through new and challenging health conditions as she aged. Or maybe you have wrestled with this fear in those few fleeting moments of alone time, when all you wanted to do was just breathe but your head raced about your life and your finances.

You are not alone. We all are dealing with uncertainty. If anything is certain in addition to death and taxes, it’s that life is continuously changing. We are dynamic. As a result, our financial situations are continuously evolving. This doesn’t mean that any of us needs to experience anxiety, feel alone, and have unanswered questions around whether we are all right with our approach to our finances. You have choices and options. You can experience financial confidence as life inevitably changes.

I’ll never forget the first time that a client asked me, “Am I going to be okay?”. Mary was in her 60s and going through many life changes. When I asked Mary why she wanted to work with me she said simply, “I need to know that I’m going to be okay.’”

Mary was a proud mother and soon to be grandmother. For as long as she could remember, her goal had been to help her three kids enjoy a quality of life as they grew up, get them safely off to college, and then live life on her terms. Mary had worked for years at the same company, often in roles that did not interest her. She stayed with her job because it offered stability and flexibility to be both family caregiver and professional while her husband, their family’s breadwinner, regularly traveled for work. Then life happened.

You are not alone. We all are dealing with uncertainty. If anything is certain in addition to death and taxes, it’s that life is continuously changing.

Shortly after her third child was in college, right around when Mary was starting to think more seriously about what she wanted to do next with her career, Mary’s world started falling apart. Her husband told her that he wanted a divorce. Mary knew that they both had focused on the kids for the last 20+ years and when they weren’t caring for the children, they were balancing their own aging parents’ needs and respective work demands. What Mary hadn’t realized was just how far apart she and her husband had drifted until her husband insisted that the divorce was necessary.

After a very difficult divorce, Mary decided that she needed to talk to an independent professional about her finances. Mary was plagued with so many money management-related questions in parallel, she wasn’t sure which ones to answer first. Mary couldn’t sleep peacefully at night with the uncertainty of how best to manage the investments that had been transferred to her following the divorce; for years, she and her husband shared the same financial advisor and Mary never really connected with the advisor or felt that he understood her.

Together Mary and I talked about what was important to her. We chatted about the mother she aspired to be for her grown children and the type of grandmother she wanted to become in the years ahead. We reviewed what her expenses looked like as a newly independent woman, and both what her current income entailed with her existing job and how her income might change if she did indeed make the career switch that she had been contemplating for years. We reviewed the savings and investment strategies that Mary had followed for years as well as the money that transferred to her as a result of the divorce. We talked extensively about Mary’s desire to make strategic financial decisions and not be a financial burden to her family as she aged if her health deteriorated. We discussed downsizing, relocating, and I gave her information and advice on both what long-term care insurance was and whether it made sense for her, given her specific financial situation.

After developing a financial plan and new investment strategy for Mary, I asked if she had any questions. With tears in her eyes, Mary shook her head “No”. As the tears began streaming down her cheeks, Mary reached out, touched my arm, and whispered, “Thank you, Caroline. You really listened to me. I am so hopeful.”

You, too, can be hopeful. You, too, can obtain peace of mind. If you’re ready to answer the question, “Am I going to be okay?” financially, I am here for you. Resolve to make 2020 your year to obtain focus and clarity on your finances.

Caroline Wetzel is one of Natural Nutmeg’s 2019 and 2018 10Best Winners for Business/Life Coach. Caroline is a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) and Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor with Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC. Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC and Procyon Institutional Partners, LLC (collectively “Procyon Partners”) are registered investment advisors with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This article is provided for informational purposes only and for the intended recipient[s] only. This article may also include opinions and forward-looking statements which may not come to pass. Information is at a point in time and subject to change. Procyon Partners does not provide tax or legal advice.

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