When the 60-something woman walked into the office I could see her fighting back the tears.
From time to time this happened to me as a financial advisor. After all, once you’ve counseled 500+ families about retirement, you’re bound to see some tough situations.
But on that day in April of 2009, it turned into a situation I’d never forget. The kind of situation that would make me sick to my stomach.
As I came out to introduce myself to her (let’s call her Mary), she thanked me for my time. I’d never met Mary before. She’d been referred to us by her husband’s co-worker.
We made our way to the conference room and as I always started off meetings, I asked her, “What can we do to help you today?”
Mary replied, “I’m in trouble. And I don’t know what to do.”
“Okay, what’s the situation?”
“Up until last Friday, I worked at a small regional bank for 32 years. On Friday, the Federal Government came in and seized the bank. They locked the doors. We are officially out of business. Which means I lost my job.”
“I’m really sorry to hear about that. That’s definitely not an easy thing to digest…”
“Yeah, well my job is my last concern. The problem is that I had my entire retirement account invested in the private stock of the bank. The valuation last year said it was worth $750,000. Is there anything I can do?”
I already knew the answer and I suppose deep down she did too…the simple answer was there’s nothing she could do. And the stock was virtually worthless.