Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a four-part series.

When you have a playbook for working with clients and co-creating outcomes that are fulfilling during the most chaotic times, you have a playbook for any time. And that playbook can be shared with your clients as you work together, thereby giving them the skills and experience to better handle their next major life event.

In the previous article, I introduced the four stages of transition that are your guide during financial transitions planning.

1.    Anticipation

2.    Ending

3.    Passage

4.    New Normal

Anticipation, you may recall, begins when the client is first made aware that the major life event is a possibility. In anticipation, there is a shift in attention and perception. A narrative begins, and with it comes expectations. Your job is to manage the expectations of the client and guide them through the idea of change and transition. It doesn’t matter what event we are talking about; the moment it arises in awareness is the moment the story begins.

The actual change occurs during ending: a death, retirement, the sale of a business, divorce. Transitions tell you where you are. And nowhere is that more pronounced than during ending. The financials might not have shifted yet but responsibility has: there is no going back for the client. This is the time for you to help your client manage the change they are in the midst of, and to safeguard them from making poor decisions while they grieve the part of their life or identity that has either been taken away from them or they have walked away from. There is a lot going on in that sentence, so let’s unpack it from the point of view of the work of the advisor.

This is the time for you to help your client manage the change they are in the midst of . . .

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