Planning for Family and Friends: Your Colleagues Weigh In

August 2004
Journal of Financial Planning;Aug2004, Vol. 17 Issue 8, p42
Academic Journal
This article presents views of several financial planners on planning for family and friends. For David Bixler of Capital Strategies Inc., managing the challenges of having friends and family as clients is an art, learned by doing and suffering some trial and error. It requires a delicate balance between professionalism as a planner and sensitivity and diplomacy as a friend or family member. Holly Hunter of Hunter Advisors LLC has both family and friends as clients. She provides their planning for free and handles their investments primarily in no or low-load or low-fee funds. She slightly discounts stock and bond trades. Most importantly, they understand what and how much they are paying or being discounted so that they have no misunderstandings. Clinton Struthers of Struthers Financial Services has handled his mother-in-law's affairs for years. His parents handle most of their own affairs, but they have been involved in the estate planning area. Laying out responsibilities and expectations is paramount. Friends are more of a challenge, as the relationship is never as deep. With arm's-length acquaintances or business friends, it is usually not a problem for him, as there is already some level of formality.


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