A winning lottery ticket or unexpected inheritance is widely considered a life-altering stroke of luck. But psychologically, these lucky people are experiencing their windfall as if it were a traumatic event, according to Susan Bradley, founder of the Sudden Money Institute. Here, she chats with Managing Editor Lorie Konish on how advisors can best work with clients who hit the jackpot.
1. What do advisors typically see from clients who suddenly come into a large amount of money? There's one characteristic that many advisors see. We call it inconsistent behavior. One minute clients say, "I don't want to take any risk." And the next, they have all these grand ideas for opening businesses and investing. We see it as a sign of stress. These clients need to be doing something. Frequently, doing something, even if it's wrong, lowers their stress level. It's stabilizing. We train advisors to join clients in "doing" mode, but not by making sudden decisions. Instead, we teach them how to get clients to prepare to make decisions. Let's say a client wants to buy a house. We want to know why. How does he think the house will make him feel? Then we help him determine what he wants in a house, and we make a checklist that he can use whenever he looks at property. Buying a house is an emotional thing. If you're not worried about your finances, then it becomes even more emotional.
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