The Financial Impact of Grief and Loss

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

One of the emotions – or more accurately, the constellation of many emotions – that financial planners often must help clients deal with is grief. It's common for people to engage a planner during times of transition and loss such as the death of a parent or spouse. Clients often need additional support and advice during divorces, the sale of a business, retirement, and other life transitions that bring up grief.

Loss is an inherent certainty of the human experience. It cannot be controlled. We cannot avoid the inevitability of losses in life. Significant ones include the loss of relationships, violations or trauma to our physical bodies, loss of autonomy or freedom, loss of valued possessions, and financial losses. Most of us will experience financial setbacks like the loss of a job, a business failure, a poor investment decision, or the loss of significant financial assets from house fires, accidents, theft, or natural disasters.

The death of a family's breadwinner is clearly a financial loss; I would go further and suggest that every personal loss such as the death of a loved one is a financial loss in some fashion. Indeed, every financial loss is a personal and emotional loss.