Stephanie thought she was relatively comfortable with the conversation she had with her husband, Peter, in regard to their personal financial situation. She knew what bank they used for their checking accounts, their mortgage, their car loan, and for the home equity loan they used for the remodeling they did last year. She knew the name of their advisor, a guy Peter golfed with, and she met once at a client event. She could recognize him but she never actually went to a meeting he had with Peter.
And the moment she learned that Peter had a stroke at age 56, all that knowledge was tested. She failed.
She realized she had been living a fantasy under the belief that Peter was handling all of this and she need not be concerned about it beyond what she already knew.
When the bankers called and asked about the missed payment for the mortgage, she knew she was in trouble. She told them she thought it was automatically deducted from their joint checking account but the woman on the phone informed her that that account was dangerously low and had no overdraft protection. Peter was not capable of speaking so she thought she could point to one of the accounts and see if he would indicate, by nodding, that this was the one she should use to cover that. He was able to do that.
Now, the reality hit her. This role would be hers for the near future if not for the rest of their lives.
She needed an education and she needed it fast. How could she figure all this out?
She called the phone number she found in Peter’s phone for the name she recognized as their financial person and he was very helpful in getting her the information she needed to pay the bills and find some resources for full-time nursing care for Peter. She wondered how they were going to pay for all that and maintain their lifestyle?
He was honest about it all and said that Peter had never wanted to discuss any kind of long-term care or disability insurance, given that he was the only breadwinner and a businessowner. It was too much of a challenge to his ego to believe that he would not be able to continue in those roles.
She tried to suppress her anger at this whole thing and realized it would do her no good to blame the advisor since he could only do what his client would allow him to do.
She was not feeling too secure in all this and decided to look for a woman advisor who might understand her financial illiteracy and help her to learn what she needed to know. And learn it fast.
This situation would not define her, she resolved!
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