Planning Against the Odds

By Katherine M. Kellen, Wealth Advisor, Wells Fargo Private Bank and CWCC Member

While many of us engage in wealth planning to create a financial roadmap or estate plan, far fewer of us review it after it is signed. We simply file it or put it on a shelf. Yet life never sits on a shelf, it is an evolving journey, bringing new opportunities and challenges to each of us daily. Sometimes it takes an event, often a disaster, to review our plans. Such reactive planning can work if you are not personally affected- but what if you are?

How do you plan for the unknown? How do you know what questions to ask? Some wonder:  why would I want to plan for bad things that might never happen?  Naturally, no one wants to experience life events such as death or disability of a spouse or divorce. Yet, if you are a woman, it is very likely you will be affected by one or more of these types in your lifetime. The statistics are staggering:

  • Over 10% of all individuals between the ages of 21 and 64 will report a disability that prevents them from being gainfully employed.
  • The maximum Social Security benefit is $30,156 per year.
  • 1/3 of widows are under age 70.
  • The average age of a widow is 56.
  • The divorce rate in the United States continues to hover around 50%.

As wealth advisors, we see these events become client situations on a surprisingly frequent basis. Arming yourself with knowledge when you don’t think you’ll need it can be difficult. Finding a partner with whom you can build the right plan and take a proactive approach is step one. At Wells Fargo, we strongly believe that the best first step is to understand and prioritize your personal, financial and legacy goals and the issues you care about most.  Secondly, we gather the necessary financial information to enable you and your advisors to complete your personal balance sheet.  Based on the information collected, both you and your advisors have a full picture of your assets, obligations, net worth and concerns.  Hence, a financial road map and estate plan that takes into consideration your feelings about investment risk and expectations can be created and updated as life evolves.

In our experience, women tend to undervalue their contribution to their household and this may leave them and their families vulnerable. Hence, arming yourself with information and sitting down with an advisor that understands your unique issues is critical to attaining peace of mind. Something, we all can increase given our busy lives as women.

This piece is an excerpt from the Wells Fargo Private Bank whitepaper, “Planning Against the Odds: The Three D’s – Death, Divorce and Disability,” co-authored by Danielle Louton, Senior Wealth Planner, and Teresa Ridge, Senior Director of Planning for California.

Wells FargoWells Fargo Private Bank provides products and services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and its various affiliates and subsidiaries.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Please consult your legal advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of you own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Member FDIC

Katherine.M.Kellen@wellsfargo.com