Case Study: Anne & Stuart

A portfolio manager asked me to work with one of his clients. He shared that Anne was struggling as she knew she had to learn about her family’s finances but it seemed overwhelming to her. We had a brief conversation on the phone, and agreed to meet in person.

Anne had asked me to be fully transparent with their portfolio manager - something I was very happy to do. I explained to her that if the professionals in their lives had more information about their thoughts, issues, and perspectives, the better they would be able to serve them.

Our meeting included her husband, Stuart, which did change the dynamics. It is common for couples to filter their feelings and words in front of each other. We discussed that topic and the need for a judgement-free conversation. Too often, we self-censor and that inhibits unpacking the issues at hand.

Going through a series of “high-gain” questions, Anne and Stuart shared their individual money stories, each one’s perspective of the present situation, and each one’s goals and objectives. The information that emerged from our conversation offered this couple an opportunity to hear each other “differently” and to learn each other’s view around money and finances from, what I refer to as, the human side of money.

”I think our meeting was very helpful. The ability to work on the budget without throwing the computer through the window speaks volumes about your own counsel and my PM's ability as a teacher and coach.

With the information and knowledge gleaned from our conversation, I was able to work on a financial decision making grid for them to use a reference point. The gird unpacks the “big hairy beast” that a finance problem can morph into.

Having definitive objectives and goals gave Anne and Stuart a platform with which to move forward. Anne was able to understand the family finances and began to take a more active role in the decision-making process. Stuart was able to feel less pressured by the budgetary decreases as well as by the intuitive and helpful partner that Anne became.

Their portfolio manager was also given their goals and objectives grid. He was able to monitor their progress and offer his expertise and assistance throughout their journey.

”Since our meeting I am developing more financial agency in my marriage, which is helps reduce stress and encourages a closer partnership between Stuart and I. We are starting to make plans for next year, something that was fraught with anxiety earlier. Now I feel like together we can plan and budget and commit.”