Client: Betty, age 62
Job: Part-time work for County agency
Net Worth: $925,000
Children: All children are grown and not living at home; Betty is not responsible for them
Situation: Betty’s husband, Barney, died 2 weeks ago from a heart attack. They were married for 38 years.
When Betty came to see us her entire life had recently been turned upside down. Barney, who had been the primary wage earner and family bill payer, was suddenly gone. Betty was completely overwhelmed with the loss of her husband and the avalanche of paperwork that would follow from Barney’s employer. She didn’t understand her personal finances, but was forced into a situation where she had to become a fast learner.
Betty’s first objective was to make sure she would be able to maintain her current standard of living and pay her bills on time. She was concerned about her utilities being shut off. We verified her checking account balance ($5,000) and immediately had her transfer another $10,000 to it from her bank savings account. She felt that this would be enough to cover her bills for the next few months. We organized her outstanding bills and developed a schedule of recurring payments she would need to make, and we offered to help her pay her bills and balance her check book for as long as she needed.
Our next objective as Betty’s advisory team was to assure her that she would be okay. Betty provided us with copies of her tax returns, and then provided us with information from Barney’s employer including benefits paperwork for the: NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, NYS Local Retirement System plan, Public Employees Federation Union life insurance, Social Security Administration, Fringe Benefits Management Company, and Empire Health Plan.
We had Betty contact the different departments and Barney’s employer to authorize our firm to ask questions and make inquiries on Betty’s behalf. It was a huge relief to Betty that we would coordinate and complete the necessary paperwork. After doing our due diligence, we were able to complete the forms necessary to have $120,000 in life insurance proceeds mailed to Betty within 2 weeks. Additionally, we were able to complete the paperwork to rollover the $190,000 taxable portion of Barney’s retirement plan into an IRA for Betty thereby maintaining the tax-free status. We also instructed the former employer to have a $50,000 non-taxable group term life insurance benefit paid directly to Betty. Additionally, we arranged for Betty to pick up a check for $5,000 for Barney’s unpaid earnings, unused vacation time, and the balance from his flexible spending account. We were able to help Betty decide how best to continue and pay for health insurance coverage. Finally, we had Betty initiate contact with the Social Security Administration to begin her monthly payout to help generate recurring monthly income.
Betty recognized that she didn’t have the time, talent or temperament to handle her own financial affairs and hired BLRS on a retainer basis to provide ongoing perspective, direction and fee-based investment management services. It is our pleasure assisting her.
*Names and some details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.