Planning for bereavement
Most of us look forward to planning for our retirement, and enjoy deciding how we’ll spend those last years with our loved ones. For many, everything works out as intended, but for some people, their best laid plans may be upset by unexpected illness or the sudden death of a partner, leaving them facing retirement alone.
At Gibson Financial Planning in Coleraine, we work with clients approaching retirement and those who are already retired, providing expert financial assistance for all types of circumstances. For us, it’s a pleasure to help a client map out their dream retirement and to put the plans in place to fund it. We specialise in helping clients manage their life-time savings and investments so they have enough to live on for the rest of their lives. When a bad prognosis is received or a bereavement occurs however, we see it as a privilege to help the surviving spouse/partner, or the terminally ill, plan for the foreseeable future.
As our company deals almost exclusively with retirees, we’re used to and indeed, prepared for the news that a client has passed away. Often, when we take on new clients, we find that one partner has dealt with the household finances throughout their working lives, leaving the other almost totally ignorant of how things stand. If the partner responsible for the couple’s finances then passes away, it can leave the remaining person confused and at a loss what to do.
Discovery and planning meetings
With this in mind – and because the death of a partner is inevitable at some stage – we ask that both partners attend our initial discovery and planning meetings. At Gibson Financial Planning, we work closely with all our clients to ensure both parties understand their current financial situation and can subsequently make informed decisions about their future.
If a client then suffers the passing of their life partner, our team is here to offer support and reassurance about their financial future. We take our role in this very seriously and will arrange a meeting to explain clearly and succinctly what will happen next as far as the client’s investment portfolio is concerned. No matter what we do in the early stages, nothing can prepare you for the loss of a loved one, but with Gibson Financial Planning, you can rest assured that you’ll always be taken care of.
During the meeting, post-bereavement, we don’t overload the client with unnecessary information, but instead assure them that they don’t need to be concerned about their money. We also explain that we can liaise with the executor(s) and probate solicitors directly, so they won’t have to deal with the added stress of this at such a difficult time. In our experience, most clients become more reliant on our services following the death of a partner, as they worry about managing their money effectively. They subsequently turn to us when it comes to making important financial decisions, and it’s our job at Gibson Financial Planning, to ensure they feel reassured about the financial stability of their future.
They may start to worry about whether they should spend their money as previously planned, so we’ll encourage them to keep moving forward with their plans as best as possible. By this stage, a family member will often have become involved and will attend a few meetings with us. Once they’re on board, it usually helps the client to accept that they still have enough money to do what they want and that they should do what they want.
Terminally ill clients
Terminal illness is unfortunately becoming increasingly common and at Gibson Financial Planning, we have experience in taking on new clients who already know of their reduced life expectancy. We’ve learned that these clients value our efficiency in handling their financial matters, rather than dwelling on their health, which at this point, can’t be changed.
Indeed, it’s much better to address their personal circumstances at an early stage, helping both clients come to terms with it, and giving them as much control as possible over the time they have left. It’s a very different experience planning for perhaps a two or three-year period than for a 20 or 30-year retirement. However, we help our clients figure out what they want to do in their remaining time, and how they wish to manage their money.
We’ll subsequently create a tailor-made financial plan which will support their plans as much as possible, while also leaving behind enough for the surviving spouse to fund their retirement after bereavement. More often than not, the terminally ill client wants to ensure those left behind will have financial security for their life-time.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the contact page or by email.