Disaster awaits if the one who manages the money alone, dies.
By Andró Griessel
10 October 2020
There is a saying in aviation that goes: It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground.
One of my dreams as a boy was to become a fighter pilot.
In std. 6 (gr. 8 they call it these days), when I started wearing glasses that were almost as thick as the bottom of a Coke bottle, I realized that I would have to abandon this dream. However, several years later, I would get the opportunity to learn to fly as a private pilot.
On 17 January 2009, after about 48 hours of training and completely oblivious, I undertook a solo flight in a Cessna 172 that would turn out to be the longest two hours of my life, and had it not been for a large dose of luck (or guardian angels) and a little concentration, it could have easily been my last day on earth.
We will have to save the details of the story for another day, but I think it’s safe to say that being in an airplane alone is one of the loneliest and most nerve-racking experiences when things start to go south thousands of meters up in the air.
The only thing worse than this is if you are a passenger in such a plane and the pilot dies of a massive heart attack and you have no idea how to fly. This nauseating thought brings me to today’s article.
I often come across the “head of the house” who has the family’s financial reins tightly in hand. These are mostly very successful men who also fairly successfully manage the family’s financial affairs.
In many cases, the mother of the house is not involved in the family’s financial decision making, often does not even know the content of the will, gets a monthly allowance and does not attend meetings with the financial planner (if one is made use of) or the auditors.
These patriarchs are usually not irresponsible towards their spouses and often leave behind more than enough in the form of a bequest to the surviving spouse or a trust that looks after them.
The mother of the house is often also a trustee of the so-called trust, but despite the provisions about the obligations of trustees and that decisions should not only be made by the founder of the trust, the mothers are usually completely illiterate about what goes on in the financial matters of the family.
This system works very well . . . until the proverbial pilot has a heart attack at 8,000 feet. What happens then is that the control of the aircraft (some of which are following an even trajectory and others already in an uncontrolled stall) is handed over to the oblivious passenger (the wife) – often with a catastrophic outcome.
The biggest problems I see in practice, and which you should think about if this scenario sounds a lot like your own, are the following:
Even if you are a good pilot and you are in control of your family’s plane, make sure that you have a co-pilot on board that will be able to land the plane safely if you are not in control of things anymore.
Andró Griessel is a certified financial planner and director of ProVérte Wealth and Risk Management. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although all possible care was taken in the drafting of this document, the factual correctness of the information contained herein cannot be guaranteed. This document does not constitute advice and anyone planning on taking any financial action based on this document, is strongly advised to first consult with their personal financial advisor. ProVérte Wealth & Risk Management is an authorised financial service provider with FSP no. 5966.