"There is no knowledge so hard to acquire," said French
Michel de Montaigne
, "as the knowledge of how to live this life well and naturally."
My dad, Robert J. Crimmins, died early this year after an
extraordinary life, touching all who connected with him in his
personal and professional paths. One of his many major important
achievements: What he accomplished financially for my mom, his
His high school's
of his life shows how much my father accomplished: class of 1956
from St. Francis Prep in Queens, N.Y.; member of the school's Hall
of Fame; involved fundraiser for the school and trustee and board
member of numerous hospitals, charities and his own alma mater, St.
John's University; honored with my mom at the St. Francis annual
Golf Classic Dinner.
In a 40-year career with Metropolitan Life, he was involved in
some of the company's signature strategies, including the "Snoopy
Blimp" bearing the MetLife logo high above numerous sporting and
other venues all over the country.
He and my mom met on the outdoor basketball courts at Public
School in Brooklyn while both were in high school. They celebrated
their 50th wedding anniversary last fall.
My dad did acquire the knowledge of how to live life well,
and he lived it naturally. Fortunately he passed this knowledge to
his family - and dad's last actions for my mom can be a wake-up for
all men born in the 1930s and 1940s.
With many couples of this generation, wives play no active role
in financial affairs. Not so my parents. My father made sure my mom
knew exactly what would happen after he died and that she had the
wherewithal to maintain her lifestyle.
Too often the loss of a husband simply gives way to a
different pain: uncertainty and fear over how a widow will generate
income for the rest of her life. Even more importantly, if the
widow had no relationship with a financial advisor, she's often
uncomfortable dealing with this professional. Lack of trust becomes
a major issue.
Both you and your spouse must be aware of your financial plan,
as well as be comfortable with your financial advisor. In our
practice, for instance, we often insist on immediately meeting both
members of a couple to determine what each hopes regarding money
and to bring our insights to bear on how to make those hopes
We view the partnership as being with both partners to ensure
that trust and involvement develop over time. Then when one life
ends, no one need be scared about maintaining a lifestyle
I've written about
the aging brain
and the difficulty of spotting financial predators who
smell blood after a senior's personal tragedy. Provide your
spouse an enormous benefit: help him or her to become comfortable
with your advisor, to learn your family financial plan and the why
and how behind your money decisions.
Help your spouse know what happens when one of you dies. A big
thanks to my dad for taking such good care of my mom, then
Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at
is the co-founder of
Crimmins Wealth Management LLC
in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. His blog is
Roots of Wealth
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both
financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in
your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors
and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest
number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest.
AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine
regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan.
9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and
technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor
rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check
back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ
screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.