As I slide ever more deeply into middle age, I can look back on many relationships that I thought would last forever, and for some reason did not. Moving on made me feel guilty, strange, or sad.
To my hairdresser, Bill: I thought you were the only person who could ever cut my insanely curly hair. For 10 years, I would drive over an hour to have you expertly shear my sheep-like mop. But, every time you got to talking about your adult children, my hair would get shorter and shorter until I was nearly bald. So, I had to embark on the most painful journey most women ever face: finding a new hairdresser. It took about 15 years, but the search was worth it. Marissa, don’t ever leave me or retire!
We have friends with whom it is harder to keep up a conversation. Co-workers with whom, as it turned out, the only thing we had in common was that boss we all hated. Therapists who were good for one issue, but not as helpful for others.
Then, there are our professional advisers: Accountants, attorneys, financial advisers. We all like to think clients will never leave us, but maybe there is a time that the relationships must change. Here are the life events that might cause you to re-think your professional advisory relationships:
Rarely does someone want to stay with the same financial advisers as their ex-spouse (although some do!). That’s okay! Part of the metamorphosis into a single person may involve finding that fit that is just for you, not just someone your ex loved and you tolerated.
Some financial advisers are great at helping you build a nest egg, but not as skilled at helping you spend it.
Starting a business
Here is where you want an accountant with real expertise. Not someone who just files taxes, but someone who can advise on business structure (LLC or S Corp?), reasonable business write-offs, and retirement savings options.
Death of a spouse
Here, you will need guidance from a variety of people. At a minimum, your estate plan will need to be re-done. Is your old attorney even still in business? Is it time for a fresh look at your investment strategy? Your life is in upheaval, but don’t let the long term planning languish for too long.
Don’t stay in a professional relationship because of a sense of guilt or misplaced loyalty. Although advisors love our clients, we understand when they need to move on for one reason or another. After all, that’s how we get new clients!