Reaching Out to Those in Financial Pain

It is a challenging season. One farmer reaps the harvest of a successful crop while his neighbor’s crop fails. The successful farmer feels his neighbor’s pain; he knows he shares his vulnerability for loss, and he reaches out with a gesture of support – in part because of their material interdependence, in part because of their shared humanity, and in part because of a desire to share the knowledge and wisdom born of experience.

Many MCSFA clients – who themselves are harvesting rewards of successful account management and planning services – have neighbors, friends, colleagues, or family in financial pain. The natural inclination is to reach out to help. But how?

Before anyone can offer meaningful help, it is important to understand the psychological effects of significant financial loss. Such loss can unravel your confidence and sense of control over your life. The experience is similar to the stages of grief – shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance and hope. Recognize that this is a process; as such, meaningful help will come only from a process, not from a single, magic solution.

The first step is to stay engaged – a frequent response is simply to stop opening account statements. Husbands may withhold information from their wives because they feel shame for not living up to their perceived role as provider. Many leave brokerage or 401(k) statements unopened. Remember that facing reality is crucial; it is the first step in finding relief and regaining control over your financial situation.

Second, no one has to do this alone. Help is available. It is natural to question where to find help or whom to trust, given the appearance of universal loss and failure. But if you are an MCS client, you know that great financial loss is not the necessary outcome of an economic downturn. Share your experience. Others will benefit from knowing that advisors exist with the proven ability to preserve wealth and sustain income, even in these times. At minimum, a second opinion is wise counsel. (For more advice on how to choose a trustworthy financial advisor, call or email and request a copy of a short article we wrote on the topic.)

MCS Financial Advisors is in a position to help. Our long-term, process-based orientation is well suited to helping people in all dimensions of such complex situations. In addition to offering portfolio review, asset management, and planning services, we recently expanded our scope of services to include the psychological and family dynamics of wealth. It is not necessary to have assets under management to access these services.

Perhaps the greatest take-home message is to remember hope – not just in some far-off recovery, but that right now, in the present moment, assets can be protected and preserved and income assured. Share that message with friends and loved ones. Encourage them to take action. If they are willing to make a call, we are here to listen and offer appropriate assistance.