In the mid-1990s I was in talks with Moody Publishers about the possibility of writing a second book. They asked what topics interested me, and among the ideas we discussed was a book tailored to the financial needs of widows. Due to writing fatigue after the first book, coupled with the time demands of the SMI newsletter, that follow-up book never got written.
I know from the correspondence we receive that the SMI newsletter has been helpful to many widows, and for that I’m very grateful. These dear women often turn to friends and relatives for advice, who refer them to financial professionals they know. But far too many times that results in widows being sold high-commission investments that are totally inappropriate for their situation. It grieves me to read of the ways they are taken advantage of, and their needs have remained on my heart.
I want to see widows get the kind of personalized, objective financial advice they need. However, due to legal/regulatory restrictions, we at SMI are not allowed to offer individualized counsel. A widow needs a trusted and competent financial planner who will listen to her story, review her financial situation, and suggest a prudent course of action.
I know there are many such financial planners among our readership, but since I don’t know each one personally, I don’t feel comfortable trying to establish a referral network. I do, however, know our friends at Ronald Blue & Co., both those in the Georgia home office as well as in many of their offices around the country. In fact, the Indianapolis office helps me with my own financial-planning needs.
So, due to that comfort level, in 2009 I announced an effort to help widows among our readership. I offered to pay the cost for one such woman each month to receive a two-hour counseling session from Ronald Blue & Co. To be considered for this, she would need to (1) be an active SMI member, and (2) write to us explaining her situation and why she feels the need for financial counseling. Despite the offer, and announcing it periodically in this section of the newsletter, we receive only two or three requests a year.
It may be that’s the extent of the need among our membership. But it also may be that eligible women don’t know about it because SMI is read primarily by the husband, and in his absence the widow doesn’t read the newsletter and/or cancels the membership.
So I’m targeting this reminder to the husbands out there. Let your wives know of this offer and our desire to help them work through the many financial decisions they face. Print this page out and let her know where to find it should the need arise. Don’t assume that only “older” men should attend to this, for “no one knows when their hour will come” (Ecclesiastes 9:12).
A widow who applies should include her phone number (and email address if applicable) when she writes to us. The letter should be addressed to SMI, Suite 202, 9700 Park Plaza Avenue, Louisville, KY 40241-2287.
If selected, we will connect her with our friends at RBC. One of their advisers has been a widow herself and understands the challenges. Your wife will be well advised and cared for.