Sometimes Advisors Just Can’t Win

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Dear Readers,

I have a wonderful advisor client who I have worked with for many, many years. She is a great advisor, excellent business development person and a caring, thorough and thoughtful professional — an exemplary individual on all scales. We recently talked about a client situation she faced: one spouse did something very offensive to the other spouse with their financial decisions. Not illegal, not against any advisory rules – just unkind to the other spouse.

My advisor reached out first to the person who committed the offense and offered to facilitate a discussion. Her goal was to try and get the two people talking to one another openly about what had happened and perhaps to put some ground rules in place. Fast forward a few weeks. Rather than respond to her about a dialogue, her clients told her they were divorcing. One spouse pulled their account from this advisor as a result.

The situation reminded me that even though there are often strategies – and tactics – to employ in working with individuals, spouses and families, there are also times where you can do all of the right things and it doesn’t work out because of the human element. Clients can lie. They can have their own agendas. They may not be forthcoming. They may have ulterior motives, like in the situation my advisor faced with this couple. Sometimes you need to cut yourself a break, as long as you know you did everything possible to facilitate a good outcome.