Clients and their pets

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Jul 15, 2009 12:09 am

So here's the dilemma - 72 y.o. female client, widow, great health, smart, always been a joy to work with, etc.  Been working with her for 6-7 years, at least.  Started out with a solid 300,000 +- non-spousal inherited IRA, taking distributions for her own income which were running slightly ahead of the mandatory amounts.  Had her set up with individ. laddered bonds, some Pioneer bond funds, a few solid div. (utility) stocks, great blend which was generating (operative word here "was") more income than she was needing to take.

 
Enter the Fur Covered Express Train to Insolvency.
 
She's spending several thousand dollars each year above and beyond her normal distributions on health care issues for her two Yorkapoos or whatever they are, and she knows it's going to wipe her out.  All but one of her kids (he's a CPA) are ok with it, because they've all got their own stuff going on and it keeps her out of their hair, but it's frustrating me beyond comprehension.  I've documented out the wazoo all the meetings, conversations, calls, etc. that we've had in which we discussed this concern, so I don't think it would ever blow up on me, but this is just stupid!
 
So, here's the question: If her son the CPA asks me to help, and some day when my client is away from the house and he and I take the Yorkapoos on that final pickup truck ride to the Great Groomer in the Sky, should we wear Ninja outfits or dress up like FedEx guys so none of the neighbors will notice?
Jul 15, 2009 12:14 am

Ninjas, but don't go on the bike. That would give it away.

Jul 15, 2009 8:29 am

The son can't handle two yorkapoos by himself?

Sounds like a set up.  I'll check the FINRA manual for dog-napping.

Jul 15, 2009 10:24 am

2Wheelbeemer:



 You have done your job and told her the consequences of her actions. What you have forgotten is that she is making a choice; she is choosing her dogs lives over her financial health. It is her money and her life. I might not agree with her choice, but it is not my money, it is her money, so it is her choice on how to spend it. You might consider that to her, her dogs are more important then money.

Jul 15, 2009 10:39 am

Ninjas are cool, FedEx guys are...well, FedEx guys!

Jul 15, 2009 10:56 am

Ooh, I just saw a FINRA commercial about this.  You'll go to jail.  And not white collar jail.  No my friend, the other kind!

Jul 15, 2009 3:08 pm
2wheeledbeemer:

So here's the dilemma - 72 y.o. female client, widow, great health, smart, always been a joy to work with, etc.  Been working with her for 6-7 years, at least.  Started out with a solid 300,000 +- non-spousal inherited IRA, taking distributions for her own income which were running slightly ahead of the mandatory amounts.  Had her set up with individ. laddered bonds, some Pioneer bond funds, a few solid div. (utility) stocks, great blend which was generating (operative word here "was") more income than she was needing to take.

 
Enter the Fur Covered Express Train to Insolvency.
 
She's spending several thousand dollars each year above and beyond her normal distributions on health care issues for her two Yorkapoos or whatever they are, and she knows it's going to wipe her out.  All but one of her kids (he's a CPA) are ok with it, because they've all got their own stuff going on and it keeps her out of their hair, but it's frustrating me beyond comprehension.  I've documented out the wazoo all the meetings, conversations, calls, etc. that we've had in which we discussed this concern, so I don't think it would ever blow up on me, but this is just stupid!
 
So, here's the question: If her son the CPA asks me to help, and some day when my client is away from the house and he and I take the Yorkapoos on that final pickup truck ride to the Great Groomer in the Sky, should we wear Ninja outfits or dress up like FedEx guys so none of the neighbors will notice?



"Fur Covered Express Train to Insolvency"

Let me congratulate you first for the great line....

Over the years I've had(and still have) various situations like this where I find myself getting very frustrated because I know a client is(in my opinion) making a HUGE mistake and I just can't seem to get the point across to them to the point where they will consider changing their actions.

As another posted remarked, one has to keep in mind that for her the dogs(and her happiness) may be more important than money or financial security.  For all you know she could have a terminal illness and she and the kids haven't chosen to inform you of that.

The point is that ultimately all you can do is make your best effort to communicate your concerns and document your efforts.

Life is about more than numbers on a spreadsheet, and we can't always save people from their own stupidity.  It's not our place to make those value judgements for them.

Jul 15, 2009 11:01 pm

Maybe you could either have a coworker or family member of hers sit in on the appointments just to back your suggestions up?

Jul 16, 2009 12:46 am

What are you going to do... plan a "financial intervention"???

 
Look, it's her money.  Document, document and document some more.  Protect your own ass.
 
Don't babysit your client's spending patterns.  Let her CPA son do that.
 
You just keep doing what you do best.
 
 
Had a client once who put all her retirement money in a VA back about 3 years ago and wiped it out.  Well over $300,000.  I suspected that she may have a gambling problem.  While I documented my notes and gave her counsel, it was still up to her to do what she wanted with her money.
Jul 16, 2009 1:33 am

Beemer...I just love reading your posts.  You are one funny SOB.  I hear your frustration and have experienced similar seemingly irrationale financial behavior.  While you can express concern, you can't live your clients' lives for them.  Say what you must, document the situation well and then prepare for liquidation mode.  I have two lady clients (both widows) who are intent on spending their deceased husbands' nest eggs before they reach retirement age.  After fighting and conseling them repeatedly, I finally decided to let them go emotionally and take their direction in liquidating their accounts.  There is sadness, and yet relief as I realize that I will one day be free of both of these fools.  When they are too foolish to take my repeated advice, I make peace with myself and let them go.  I advise you to do the same, grasshopper.  Holding their money hostage is no way to enjoy what you do.

Jul 16, 2009 3:01 am

Pretty funny post about pets.

 
As someone with no children, my two dogs are my kids. While I agree with Indyone, maybe you should approach your logic with HER needs. Think about it---she probably raised the kids for years and now they have abandoned her and she just has these dogs who love her unconditionally. So, maybe you could talk to her about pet insurance. Ask her if she lost her home, what would happen to the pets. Would they lose their backyard? Who would take care of the pets and love them if she was not responsible? They could end up in a crowded shelter....
 
Ultimately, she may not listen to you. I mean seriously---how many parents do you know who spent thousands on kids? (Private education, lavious weddings, etc.) However, if you approach it from her world, maybe you might make sense to her.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jul 16, 2009 9:09 am

I'd say senior age clients with leeching kids in their 40s have been a much bigger aggravation for me than pets.

Jul 25, 2009 9:46 am

Talk about 40 yr old kids leeching senior aged parents.  I had one gal who began calling for more money, and went back to work nursing part time after being retired for 3 years.  After 6 months of this, I found out from her tearful breakdown that she was working on cleaning up her son's apartment, credit card bills and washing his clothes.  Here is the kicker, she told me she never had children, but I asked what the man was doing while she did all of this.  She broke down at that point, stating all he does is sit on the couch and smoke pot.  No job, 325 pounds, no family etc.  WTF is wrong with 66 year old widows enabling like that.  I supported this emotionally for a bit longer but had to just let her go.  I worked with her for 8 years before she flipped out, and after 6 months of me knowing she was bailing out this slob son, she introduces another fraud, a former undertaker 15 years older.  He was going to take care of her now.  They both came into my office and she did little talking, this old guy did it all.  When the old man challenged me to a fight (LOL), I stood up, grabbed his hand and pulled his chest to mine (we were seated next to each other) and I said take your money and get out before I have security remove you.  She left crying, with an appology letter the next week.

 
Within a year, my friend at another firm called me to tell me that she was no longer a client, she went through over 300k.  And the undertaker, he was out of the picture actually sucking off of her cash.  Go figure.
Jul 25, 2009 10:42 am
Amp2Indy2006:
Within a year, my friend at another firm called me to tell me that she was no longer a client, she went through over 300k.  And the undertaker, he was out of the picture actually sucking off of her cash.  Go figure.
 
I had a similar situation and called for an elder support group that got the police involved. The scammer had ripped off seniors many times and after a little heat left my client alone.
 
 
Aug 7, 2009 9:37 pm

Ah, so your production will be going down because the account is dwindling. Isn't that really the problem?

 
 
Sell her an insurance policy with a non profit for the bene, and tell her to meet with her attorney to have the Yorkapoos placed at the non profit to benefit from the proceeds of the policy. You get a nice payout, the dogs get cared for for the rest of their lives and she will feel you are the greatest advisor in the world looking out for her dogs.
 
Then stop bellyaching and get prospecting!