You have a lot of savings. So why are you afraid of running out of money?


We all have a history with money. We grow up with too little or too much – or fall under the influence of parents or others who influence our attitude towards saving and spending. As we age, money often becomes an indicator of our emotional well-being.

It’s good to think about money frequently, enjoy its benefits and derive value from it. But it’s not healthy to constantly worry about it and let the “I haven’t enough” worry eat away at you. Even some wealthy people express an irrational fear of going broke. In an honest moment, a financial advisor will admit that chronic worries are demanding customers. They require more handling. What is worse, they may not listen to reason.

A little empathy goes a long way. Rather than dreading these clients, savvy counselors ask gentle questions in an attempt to uncover deeper concerns, motivations, and memories.

“I wouldn’t say the fear of never having enough money is irrational,” said Jim Ludwick, a certified financial planner in Las Vegas. “Most of the time, it’s because a friend or relative has been through bad things and the client has observed it closely. Their experience gives an objective look at their assets and liabilities. “

When customers tell Ludwick they’re afraid of running out of money, he starts by listening without interrupting. Then he repeats what he heard to confirm his understanding. From there, he asks questions like “Why are you raising this now?”

“I’m trying to understand the real source of their worry so that I can identify what triggers it,” he said. “I want to know where their anxiety is coming from.”

When high net worth clients insist they risk losing everything – or fear their nest egg is too small – a data adviser’s shrewd appeal can backfire. All the facts and figures in the world can be left out if someone doesn’t want to digest them.

To allay these fears, Steve Jablonski takes a less is more approach. Rather than listing all the reasons why a client is fixed for life financially, he will present his arguments succinctly. “We keep things as simple as possible,” said Jablonski, a certified financial planner in Norristown, Pennsylvania. “We want to deliver it in a way the customer can understand.”

Early in his career, Jablonski worked for a company that produced a 125-page book to educate clients about their holdings. He recalls that about 75% of the material was standard content that had nothing to do with the customer. He quickly abandoned this strategy in favor of teaming up with clients to personalize their financial plan. “We are building it together,” he said. “The client gets a three-page printout,” which tends to knock the house and alleviate financial worries.

For some worried clients, realizing that their advisor is making very conservative assumptions may in itself offer some relief. They are less likely to worry if they see that their advisor has factored in the worst outcomes and factored them into the plan.

When Tony Zabiegala, a consultant in Independence, Ohio, works with anxious clients, he compares the assumptions he makes with numbers often used in financial planning software. “I’m going to tell customers that the software assumes a 7% rate of return and we’re using 5%,” he said. “Or he can assume you’ll live to age 85. We’re using 95.”

Some clients need a certain perspective to reduce their fear. Concerned that they will never have enough money, they may not realize that they are barely alone in their state of distress.

Bjorn Amundson, a certified Minneapolis-based financial planner, cites research in which the rich were asked, “When would you feel comfortable with the amount of money you have?” Respondents with $ 5 million and even $ 10 million said they felt they needed more money to be comfortable.

“There seems to be a psychological issue that you’re never going to feel comfortable with until you’ve got something like $ 200 million in the bank,” Amundson said. “It might not be rational, but it’s totally human to be afraid of things, whatever the odds.”

By sharing this with customers, Amundson assures them that they aren’t alone in feeling anxious about not having enough. Once they see that their fear is normal, they can focus on the facts and see their situation with greater clarity and logic.

Now read: When you want to retire but your partner doesn’t, money isn’t necessarily the real issue

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