The Unexpected Question

In the three decades I have been a financial advisor, there is one question that will remain in my memory forever. It was early in my career. I was meeting with a young couple who were making long term plans. Near the end of our discussion the wife asked me “What will happen to us when you die?” I was momentarily stunned. I mumbled something about not being that old.

Actually, while the question is unusual, it’s actually a good one. Advisors and clients beginning a relationship should expect it to last a long time. It’s often like a marriage: “till death do you part.” But what does a client do when someone who has been providing financial advice retires or dies?

When looking for advice, most people look for someone with experience. When I look for a doctor, I prefer someone who has been practicing for a while. I like my surgeons to practice and make their mistakes on someone else. A good financial advisor doesn’t have to be old, but it helps to know that he has been through several market cycles. Experience is mostly gained with time and that can be a problem. According to a recent study, 43% of advisors are nearing retirement. That means that if you are middle-aged, there’s a good chance you will lose your financial advisor at the very worst time: as you and your spouse enter retirement.   That’s not the time to have to find someone new.

There is an answer. If another couple were to ask me the same question I was asked nearly 30 years ago, I’d have a great answer. It just happened that my interest in investing carried over to my son, Stephen. He attended Virginia Tech, majoring in Finance with an emphasis on risk management. Upon graduation he became an analyst for one of the top investment management consulting firms in the world: Cambridge Associates. They provide advice and portfolio guidance to some of the country’s largest institutions and ultra-wealthy families.

I was able to persuade him to join me 10 years ago and put his expertise to work for my clients. We have been a great team ever since.   As a team, we manage money the way institutions do, with individual goals and emphasis on controlling risk. At Korving & Company we offer our clients a rare combination of age and experience that won’t be found at other investment firms.

Call us for our White Paper: “Eight Steps for a Better Retirement.”

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