Welcome, everyone! Welcome to the 53rd episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today’s podcast is Amy Florian. Amy is the founder of Corgenius, a consulting firm that teaches and trains financial advisors about how to work better with grieving clients.
What’s fascinating about Amy, though, is that she actually is a trained Thanatologist – one who studies death, loss, aging, transitions, and the various forms of grief. A path that first started for her when she unexpected become a young widow herself at the age of 25 with a 7-month-old son after a tragic car accident, and ultimately evolved into running a support group for widows, getting a Master’s degree and becoming a Fellow in Thanatology, and over the decades has expanded into conference presentations, workshops, a master class, and a series of books, with a primary specialization in working with us as financial advisors.
In this episode, we talk in depth about the real challenges as a financial advisor when trying to work with clients who are grieving, why the grieving process isn’t just about death and dying but any time someone has a break with an attachment – which can even include the break from the attachments of existing social relationships and personal identity when someone retires – and how in the end our job as advisors working with grieving clients isn’t about trying to make them feel happier, but simply to comfort them as they go through their own healing process. Even if that means there’s a lot of crying.
Unfortunately, though, in practice this isn’t what most of us tend to do when faced with situations of death, dying, and grief. Because these are situations that most are never trained to handle in the first place. Accordingly, Amy shares her expert perspective on how to be “No Longer Awkward” with grieving clients, what we should do and say to really comfort them, why saying “How are you holding up?” or “Is there anything I can do?” is not actually helpful for those who are grieving, why it can be even worse to try to hand a box of tissues to a crying client in your office, and why it’s better instead to ask “What do you wish people knew about what this is like for you?” or simply “What kind of a day is this for you?”.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Amy talks about how even though we as financial advisors aren’t meant to be professional grief counselors, that ultimately we can be “grief companions” that provide our support… beyond just trying to help with the financial issues that arise in times of grief.
So whether you have been curious about how you can be less awkward around grieving clients, the specific challenges financial advisors should expect when working clients suffering a break with some type of attachment, or curious about the role advisors can play beyond just addressing financial issues that come during times of grief, I hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast!