Questions That Matter: Part One

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Questions That Matter:  Part One

Dr. Moira Somers, Ph.D., C. Psych.
Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

 Help Ensure Mutual Comprehension

 There are many reasons why clients may not follow excellent advice. One of the most common reasons is that they did not fully understand what was said to them by their advisor.

In order to avoid this problem, add the following questions to each of your client meetings:

hands question cropped

  • Is there anything we haven’t had a chance to talk about today that you really wanted us to discuss?  Do you feel that I have a good understanding of the situation?
  • Do you have any more questions for me?
  • Can you tell me in your own words what we agreed would be the next step, and why?
  • Is there anything that is leaving you unsettled or unsure?

 

Dr. Moira Somers, Ph.D., C. Psych. is a Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member and financial psychologist. Learn more about her work at Money, Mind and Meaning.

Habits of Healthy Family Cultures : Part Three

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Part Three

Ten Habits of Healthy Family Cultures
Exerpts taken from Intentional Wealth by Courtney Pullen, M.A., LPC
Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

We hope you’ve enjoyed Part One and Part Two of our series, Ten Habits of Healthy Family Cultures.  Author and SMI faculty member Courtney Pullen has shared some intentional practices, beliefs and behaviors that can lead to successful family cultures.  Here are some more of those habits he observed in his book Intentional Wealth.happy asian family

See the family as a learning system.

Families who are most successful at passing their values on to future generations understand the importance of seeing mistakes as something to learn from.  They are willing to learn from advisors and confident enough to seek out those who are willing to “speak truth to power.”  They cultivate a sense of appropriate humility.

See the family as a steward of the wealth.

 Most of the legacy families that I have worked with or interviewed discuss openly the family’s responsibility to be the steward of the wealth.  There is a deep sense that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”  They describe themselves as the custodians of their wealth and of the well-being of others. I have worked with a number of families who had very different political or social beliefs from each other, but they were in alignment around the value of making a contribution in the lives of others.

 

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Habits of Healthy Family Cultures : Part Two

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Part Two

Ten Habits of Healthy Family Cultures
Exerpts taken from Intentional Wealth by Courtney Pullen, M.A., LPC
Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

Last week, in Volume One of Ten Habits of Healthy Family Cultures, author and SMI faculty member Courtney Pullen shared some intentional practices, beliefs and behaviors that lead to successful family cultures.  Here are some more of those habits he observed in his book Intentional Wealth.Bradley grandparents

Support family members in leading lives with purpose.

 One of the greatest fears for many wealth creators is that their success will enable future generations to become dependent and live off the family money without becoming contributing members of society.  Successful legacy families are very intentional in supporting each member of the family to live a life with purpose and meaning. The family isn’t threatened by differences in personality, thought or temperament.  Instead, it values the differences and sees them as contributing to the strength of the family.

 

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Habits of Healthy Family Cultures : Part One

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Part One

Ten Habits of Healthy Family Cultures
Exerpts taken from Intentional Wealth by Courtney Pullen, M.A., LPC
Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

Families who base their wealth management on a foundation of integrity and a sense of gratuity are the most likely to flourish.  Author and SMI faculty member Courtney Pullen shares some intentional practices, beliefs and behaviors that lead to successful family cultures from his book, Intentional Wealth

trees in forest small

Establish shared family values.

In successful families, founding generations do more than expect younger members to live up to the family values.  They find ways to consciously teach those values as well as modeling them in their own behavior.  Families who flourish also understand that there are many ways to demonstrate values such as stewardship, hard work, and excellence.  Such families are secure and flexible enough to accommodate varying lifestyles and behaviors because they focus on the values that underlie those surface appearances.  

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What to Say and When to Say It: Part Three

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Part Three

A Three-Part Series of helpful tips when speaking to widows
Excerpts taken from Impactful Empathy by Kathleen Rehl, Ph.D. CFP®,
author of Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows and Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

We hope you have enjoyed reading Part One and Part Two of the What to Say and When to Say It series.  Here are some final things to avoid saying when you speak with a widow:

mature woman on computer

You’re young. You’ll find someone new. You can remarry.

The pain of losing a spouse is immeasurable, and the prospect of sharing that intimacy with a new person can be upsetting, frightening or painful.  Talking about future relationships is not a good approach, and while some may think it could cheer up a grieving widow, this is likely to have the opposite effect. 

Instead, focus on the important friendships the widow has in her life.  Her current network provides the solid, uncomplicated support she needs. “You are so fortunate to have many good friends. Their support will help you through this difficult time. Take them up on their offers to help or get together for lunch or coffee.  They really are there for you, like you would be for them.”

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What to Say and When to Say It: Part Two

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Part Two

A Three-Part Series of helpful tips when speaking to widows
Excerpts taken from Impactful Empathy by Kathleen Rehl, Ph.D. CFP®,
author of Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows and Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

 

There are many phrases of condolence that we all know and hear often.  In Part One of the What to Say and When to Say It series, we learned that common phrases are not necessarily helpful or comforting to a widow who no longer has her husband, her partner, the love of her life.  Below are some additional things to avoid saying when you speak with a
widow:

widow drinking tea

It was God’s will…It’s all part of God’s plan…God needed another angel in heaven.

Statements like these can be upsetting or offensive.  First, you may make an incorrect assumption about a woman’s beliefs and religion. Additionally, a widow may even find herself questioning her own faith after her spouse’s death.  While your sentiment may be heartfelt, avoiding these platitudes can sidestep an uncomfortable or hurtful situation for the widow.

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What to Say and When to Say It: Part One

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Part One

A Three-Part Series of helpful tips when speaking to widows
Excerpts taken from Impactful Empathy by Kathleen Rehl, Ph.D. CFP®,
author of Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows and Sudden Money® Institute Faculty Member

There are many phrases of condolence that we all know and hear often:

 He’s in a better place…  At least he’s no longer suffering…  It’s all in God’s plan…

widow comforting hands

 While these are common phrases, they are not necessarily helpful or comforting to a widow who no longer has her husband, her partner, the love of her life.  Below are some things to avoid saying when you speak with a widow:

He’s in a better place now.

This phrase makes many assumptions…about life, death, and your client’s viewpoint.  A statement like this may not necessarily fit the widow’s faith beliefs.  Additionally a grieving widow may feel strongly that the “best place” for her husband would be alive, with her.  So, don’t cause additional distress.  Just avoid this sentiment.

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Before the Windfall

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sudden money windfallAlthough most people will mention winning the lottery when the topic of windfalls arises, random, large Sudden Money™ events are far less common than ones that you know are coming your way. Inheritances, divorce settlements, insurance settlements, professional sports contracts and endorsements after the Olympics are all Sudden Money™ events that include lead-time. And lead-time means you have the opportunity to think about how you’re going to integrate the new money into your life.

Of course, that means eventually creating a plan for spending, saving, investing and giving. Eventually. But first it means moving through the idea of the financial change. If there’s anything we’ve learned from studying windfall recipients, it’s that preparation for the receipt of the money is a major factor in how well it is integrated into the recipient’s life.

Financial change is stressful, partially because you feel overwhelmed by a flood of new choices. Meanwhile, the stress you’re experiencing lowers your ability to make good choices. In reality, there are very few decisions to be made. Taxes need to be covered, paperwork needs to be signed, but little else. Before you get any of the new money, you’re not really in a position to actually spend that new money, so we’re not referring to financial-related decisions. (It’s true that many people have their money spent—in their heads—or even make commitments for it, but that’s a topic we’ll address in the future.)

There are plenty of intangibles that are present in all of our lives, all of the time, but we just don’t focus on them or even notice them. They include our preferences for communication, our decision-making style, the qualities of our relationships, and the existence of myriad expectations.

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Control What You Can Control

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financial change helpWe can’t control all life events, but we can control how we respond to them. The long-term impact of a sudden money event, whether it’s planned for or unexpected, celebrated or regretted, will ultimately be formed by your willingness to sit with the uncertainties and the unknowns, and your patience with moving through your transition in a meaningful way.

Change is a gift because it allows you the space to pay attention and reflect on your sense of self and sense of purpose. The saddest events can lead to a stronger sense of meaning and new direction and passion. Meanwhile, the biggest windfalls can lead to the breakdown of an otherwise happy life. The only given is that there is change.

 

The Process of Change

What we at The Sudden Money® Institute have created is a specific discipline for managing the qualitative, emotional and personal side of the process of change. Not the inciting event, but the process of change. Therapy is wonderful. Therapists help you identify and name your problem or issue and then find ways to solve, resolve, or cope with it. And, depending on the orientation of the therapist, they talk you through your feelings or they help you change your behavior.

And life coaching is also great. Life coaches can provide you with the structure for getting where you want to go. However, when life changes, one thing everyone needs but doesn’t think about, is that there is a passage between what was and what will be. That’s one of the reasons we call our advisors “thinking partners.” They help you think about and appreciate a time that most people don’t even acknowledge, yet it can be a powerful, life-altering time. They have a process for it and can guide you through your uncertainties and prevent you from making costly and/or irrevocable mistakes.

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What does it mean to experience change?

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water rippleThere are myriad aspects of your life that open up as a consequence of sudden money. Relationships, career, residence, hobbies, dreams. The gift of change is the gift of a built-in time out. You have been gifted with the opportunity to discover something new about yourself and your relationships and your choices. There’s a rich experience that comes with change, and if you embrace it and all of its possibilities and you work with it, wonderfully positive, transformative things can happen.

Even circumstances that are unbearably painful can lead to something good. For example, the grief of Candace Lightner, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, led her to start what is now Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD has been supporting victims of drunk driving as well as promoting public policies against underage drinking and drunk driving for decades. Lightner turned her personal, unimaginable suffering into an organization that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives and made our nation a safer place for children. She didn’t let her horrifying loss define her future.

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