Story #1

Jack, age 72, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, leaving his wife, Jill, age 70, to eventually handle the finances on her own. They hired Sharkey, Howes & Javer to review their overall circumstances, their investment portfolio, and their estate planning. We concluded that the assets they accumulated to date should be more than sufficient to provide Jill with the same standard of living that she had been accustomed to before Jack’s eventual passing.

We reviewed their current investment portfolio and determined that the amount of risk they were exposed to was more than what was determined to accomplish their goals. We redesigned and implemented a new portfolio with a lower risk profile and to this date, Jill’s portfolio is still projected to be on track to provide for her needs for her expected lifetime.

We also worked closely with Jack and Jill’s estate planning attorney and together agreed to make some changes that, under the tax law at the time, could potentially save the clients a significant amount of taxes upon Jill’s eventual passing. Jack has unfortunately since passed away, but Jill now has a better understanding of her finances, is taking distributions from her portfolio and continues to meet with us regularly for financial guidance.

Story #2

Jane, age 55, lost her husband about two years before working with Sharkey, Howes & Javer. Raising two teenage boys on her own was challenging and handling the finances became too overwhelming.

We discussed her desires to pay for college for both boys and prepared a plan that detailed how to accomplish this important goal. Although a homemaker for the last 14 years, we also developed a plan for her “retirement.” SH&J managed her investment portfolio that was comprised of her deceased husband’s 401(k) from his employer as well as life insurance proceeds. We implemented a plan to provide her a consistent monthly income to supplement her current social security survivor benefits so she could maintain her lifestyle.

Now, ten years later, both boys have completed their undergraduate studies without incurring any student loan debt, and Jane continues to follow the recommended portfolio distribution plan.

 Story #3

Beth, age 63, lost her husband suddenly and found herself abruptly in a position to make all the financial decisions, needless to say, all during her grieving process. Although she was familiar with managing the necessary bills, she was not familiar with how to invest their existing portfolio or the proceeds from life insurance. She also had to make social security and 401(k) rollover decisions.

She met with Sharkey, Howes & Javer and we initially provided her some literature and recommendations to help her with the grieving. We then patiently guided her through the financial process and helped her decide which Social Security option was likely the most advantageous given her circumstances and assumed life expectancy. We also helped her consolidate numerous 401(k)’s into one retirement account to simplify her finances, specifically upcoming Required Minimum Distributions from her IRA.

SH&J is now helping Beth with her retirement plan as well as helping her understand the basics of investing and designing a long-term investment portfolio.

These writings are provided for illustrative purposes only. An individual’s experience may vary based on his or her individual circumstances. There can be no assurance that SH&J will be able to achieve similar results in comparable situations. No portion of these writings is to be interpreted as a testimonial or endorsement of SH&J’s investment advisory services and it is not known whether the clients referenced approve of SH&J or its services.

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