I recently attended a TD Ameritrade workshop where Byrnes Consulting shared their marketing strategy expertise. Mike Byrnes offered some draw dropping statistics during his presentation but the one that stuck out to me the most:  80-90% of widows change financial advisors

This statistic is staggering and honestly surprised me. As financial advisors, we’re obviously failing to serve both spouses. I think that commonly one spouse is more naturally in charge of the financial aspects in a marriage. But you don’t want one spouse to outlive the other and the surviving spouse not know a thing about their finances. Here are 3 things I believe we can take from this.

Require both Spouses Participate

Before I start working with clients on their financial plan, I require that both of them are involved and participating. If one spouse doesn’t show up for our meeting or wants nothing to do with the financial planning process, I will most likely not take them on as clients. Throughout the years I’ve discovered that it’s best if a couple is honest with each other and fully aware of their financial picture. I provide advice and guidance and in order to do so I need to know and serve both parties. I challenge you to start screening your prospects in this way. You’ll find that this makes the financial planning process more elegant and easier on your clients and you as their financial planner.

Reach out to the Wife

If you meet with a couple and the husband does all the talking be sure to reach out to the wife. Try and get her involved in the conversation and make sure that the wife’s questions and curiosity about her and her husband’s financial plan are answered. Statistically women outlive men their same age 5-6 years longer. It’s important that women clients are served equally to their counterparts so they’re not lost in the unfortunate event of becoming widows. In developing a strong, healthy relationship with both spouses, you can better serve them throughout their stages of life.

Opportunity to Serve

In discovering this statistic, I think we’ve found a population in the industry that’s tremendously under-served. If you encompass empathy for widows and feel you can provide significant value to them as they maneuver through this extremely tough and sensitive time in their life, then think about connecting with a grief counselor in your area, or possibly your church, who can help widows find you if they’re in need of financial planning services.

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