This month, Eddy & Schein Group celebrates 20 years of providing personal finance management services for a truly wonderful group of clients. In looking back over the past two decades, we see a consistency of big issues and commonly themed questions. One concern that’s been a constant is longevity, but, of course, there are others, and we thought to share some of them as we all look toward 2021, and beyond.
- Will I outlive my money?
- Who will handle my personal affairs if I’m not able to?
- Are my personal finances and legal documents organized and clear for someone to step in?
- Who will care for me as I age?
- How do I reduce the burden on my family and minimize intra-family conflicts?
- How do I balance my current financial needs with my desire to leave money to my children?
Successfully managing longevity remains a growing concern.
People are living longer, retirement savings are insufficient, long-term care insurance options are becoming more limited, and government assistance is not assured. We have seen the benefits of gaining financial literacy at an early age. Here are some thoughts on why you should and how you can.
Educate yourself earlier about the high cost of a long life.
To successfully manage longevity, learn to identify, establish, and abide by a set of realistic spending and savings priorities.
We’ve observed that many people underestimate the cost of post-retirement life (e.g., dental expenses, long-term care costs, income-related Medicare premiums, and tax consequences of using retirement funds). They often underestimate their life span – how long they could live – and health span – in what condition they will live. We see that not considering both longevity variables adequately can be extremely disruptive to personal finance management.
It’s the nature of our business to help people manage personal finances through challenging times.
Throughout our 20 years, we’ve been able to help our clients organize and manage their financial affairs through periods of economic uncertainty and the deeply personal, life-changing events that impact their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. The “one true thing” we see is that personal finance issues are typically laden with emotions, including a lot of stress.
What makes us better at helping people is a simple, basic practice: Always be Listening.
Seeking help with one’s personal finances can feel uncomfortable. Over the years, fear, embarrassment, and denial are but a few of the emotions expressed by prospective clients about their financial circumstances, regardless of age or economic status.
From the very beginning, we found our best relationships started with us listening closely and knowing how to ask and respond to questions in ways that put our clients at ease. So, while we deal with finances, we know feelings matter.
We’ve been asking pertinent questions since opening our business in 2000, addressing complex situations with care, and resolving those situations efficiently. We came to understand that to create the most effective solutions and offer the best counsel, we had to factor in not only what the situations were, but how they affected people’s feelings. To do that, we’ve always had a commitment to taking the time to listen. We continue to do that today, with every client.
In further reflecting on our first 20, we’ve seen how much listening gave us the ability to shape ourselves around our clients. We were (and still are) using our expertise to help our clients with bill paying and document organization for tax and legal professionals, and to help plan and prepare for life transitions, even as they are unfolding.
By building good relationships, people became comfortable with our honest evaluation of their situation.
Two comments from clients that inspired us and proved that our approach was resonating:
“Despite demonstrating my financial troubles, you have made me feel more grounded.”
“I am more relaxed because I know that things are being handled.”
In closing this first of two November “anniversary blogs,” we at Eddy & Schein Group extend our deepest thanks to the clients, associates, and friends who helped us reach this 20-year milestone. Please don’t hesitate to contact us about helping you reach some of your own.