Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™ – Navigating Financial Decisions as a Widow

Stacy Francis

Stacy Francis is the Founder of Francis Financial and Savvy Ladies.

She joined me to talk about the steps to take after a loved one dies, what sort of team is important to have in place (both personally and professionally), major mistakes she has seen widows make while grieving, and fantastic tips to navigate grief while talking about the differences between a therapist and grief coach.

There is a lot to takeaway from today’s conversation whether you are recently widowed, widowed in the past, or are a friend or family member of a widow.

I appreciated Stacy’s vulnerability in sharing why she went into financial planning and started a non-profit, as well as the emotional side of loss with therapy and grief coaches.

Helpful Links


Elliott: [00:00:00] Stacy, welcome to the podcast. I appreciate you being here.

Stacy: Thank you, Elliott. I’m very excited to talk to you today.

Elliott: Thank you. Well, I thought maybe we could start things off. We’ll talk about widows and grief and other things that accompany that a little bit more. But I’d love to start with just a brief sort of background on yourself and the non-profit you founded and everything that you have going on.

Stacy: Uh, thank you for asking. Um, I feel really blessed I get to do work that is, um, unbelievably satisfying, empowering, um, But I never thought of myself as becoming a financial advisor when I was a little girl. In fact, I was the girl in math that, uh, I sat in the back, uh, which I shouldn’t have because I actually needed glasses and I didn’t have ’em back then because I cared what people thought about me.

Um, and I didn’t raise my hand, uh, in math. And, uh, however, I had a experience that made me realize how important, uh, knowing about money and being empowered around [00:01:00] money was. Um, and that was watching my grandmother who. Admitted to me that she felt financially trapped in her marriage. And, uh, my grandfather was not a nice gentleman.

Um, he was an alcoholic and he actually, um, there was physical abuse. And so I grew up as a little girl watching this, and it became so violent that she actually ended up passing away from. From the abuse. So it completely changed who I was and at a very early age taught me a lesson that, um, you know, no one should have to learn that way.

And it became my life mission to particularly work with women helping women. And I launched a beautiful charity in her name, uh, in her honor when I was 26, called Savvy Ladies. And. We work with tens of thousands of women across the United States, um, all pro bono. We have workshops and TED talk like videos, [00:02:00] hundreds of them.

Anything you could ever imagine you have a question about with finances. And we also have, um, the only help line in the country where women can. One on one free of charge with a certified financial planner, a CPA for taxes, whatever they need. Um, and we’ve already made, we’re on track to make about 2000 matches this year between women in our, our amazing, uh, financial expert volunteers, um, to be able to work for that one, that one time.

Um, so. Really powerful and, um, I love my work. Um, how I actually pay for it is, uh, in creating the charity cuz I did not come from, from money. Um, I started a beautiful wealth management firm the year after, 20 years ago. And here we are 20 years later. We have about 220 clients, primarily women. And we do comprehensive fee only fiduciary financial planning for them and [00:03:00] also, uh, wealth management, which is a fancy way of saying, making sure that their portfolio is invested in a very.

Best way to get them out to H 95 and beyond. Um, and I have 17, uh, planners and advisors with me now. Um, and the charity too, has grown. I have four, uh, full-time, uh, team members, staff members, and a board of about 20. And it just, I’ll be honest, Elliott, um, I’m just so. So in awe of, of, of where we are, what we’ve been able to do, kind of what, what my life looks like now.

Um, it, it really is amazing. I, I just feel really blessed. I feel so good to, to do really challenging work through Francis Financial, but then also through Savvy Ladies, be able to help women who are really struggling financially that couldn’t go anywhere else. So, yeah, it feels really, it feels really. I

Elliott: bet that that sounds amazing, and just how much that has grown since age 26 and starting that.

Yeah. And um, everything that has come [00:04:00] from that, and I, I’m amazed 2000 people. I mean, that’s great. I, I joined the organization recently and did my first consultation with someone. So, um, if people wanna get involved with that, What’s the best way, cuz I do have some financial planners that listen to this podcast as well.

So right here at the beginning, maybe we pitch that a

Stacy: little bit. Yeah, no, thank you Elliot. I’m so, uh, grateful to you because we need to also expand the number of our volunteers. We have about 150 volunteers like you, and this could not have happened. Without you and without all of those volunteers. Um, and so if you’re interested, you can go to savvy and just remember, Savvy is with Two Vs.

Cuz I say it’s very, very good, very, very savvy. Um, if you go to savvy, right on there, you can go to the helpline and it talks about, uh, volunteering. And what’s great about volunteering, I don’t know if you’ve found this, but you can customize it to like whatever timeframe you have. So if you have one hour a month or two hours, most people.

Um, work with two women two hours a month. [00:05:00] Um, but then we’ll have people who have retired from the profession who are working with five or six, and then other people will put theirs on their volunteering on pause, um, because they’re, you know, going on vacation with their kids, or, you know, it’s a busy time of the year, so it’s really flexible and you do it via phone or via Zoom so you don’t have to go anywhere.

And it’s, it’s just such a really nice way to give. But thank you Elliott, because we couldn’t do this without you. I mean that thank you makes our volunteers that, that like make the help line actually run. So yeah. Yeah.

Elliott: Good. Well I appreciate you letting people know where they can check it out. And also if you’re looking for help, you can also go there, you’re looking for that one or two hour consult and need help getting started with something great resource.

Stacy: Yeah, it is a great resource. It’s confidential. Um, and. Hand match people based on the question they have and that volunteer and what their expertise is. And the wonderful thing about our volunteers like you, like people are doing this other kindness of [00:06:00] their heart. They really wanna help. And there’s like, there’s like no judgment.

So like however you show up where, you know, wherever you are in your life with your finances, um, they’re just there with a big hug to.

Elliott: Absolutely. Let’s shift gears here a little bit and go and talk about what it’s like to be a widow from a financial planning perspective, from a grief perspective, from a lot of different perspectives.

And just in your work. Yeah. Through your firm and working with clients. I, I’m curious sort of what, what should someone do? After they lose a loved one. And I know that’s a very broad question, but I’m curious sort of what comes to mind, what you’ve seen. Can you speak to that?

Stacy: It’s a great question. Um, uh, one of our superpowers is working with women who are on their own because their spouse has passed away.

And, um, one of the biggest pieces that I’ve noticed, Anyone who has lost a loved one should, should [00:07:00] notice is and just embrace and be comfortable with that you’re not at your best. Um, like widow’s Fog is Elliott. It’s very real. And you know, all of us have gone through trauma sometime in our life and. It may not be widows fog at that time, but we, we clearly see that we’re, we’re not thinking the way we normally are.

We’re having a harder time remembering, maybe losing our keys, having a, you know, just again, have maybe having a harder time making decisions. And then you multiply that by, by 10 or a hundred, uh, for someone who’s lost, um, a loved one. And so just recognizing that, um, you’re not at your best and the best thing to do.

And the, the biggest piece of advice I, I say to anyone is to get your team in place because you cannot do this. You need a fantastic, uh, estate planning attorney, [00:08:00] um, ideally working with your current advisor. Although, what’s interesting, Elliott, um, 80% of women whose spouses passed away in the last year move advisors.

And we, we hear from them because they feel like they didn’t feel. By that advisor, they maybe didn’t have that relationship. Um, so I have a fantastic resource guide that, uh, actually lists in there and I’ll, I’ll make sure that I send that to you so you can put it in the show notes, all the questions to ask a financial advisor so that you can make sure that you’re working with someone who’s gonna help you and set you up on, you know, for success.

And also, to be honest, just help you deal with the avalanche of financial paperwork that has to be collected and also financial decisions that need to be. Um, and the final one that most people don’t talk about, but I’m going to, is mental health. Whether that’s a grief coach or a therapist that specializes in grief, there’s, there’s no way that people can typically get through this [00:09:00] without, without that support.

And friends and family are wonderful, but, but it’s not the same as a professional. Mm-hmm. . So, yeah, that is my words of advice of like, get that team in order to, to really support. Yeah, I’m,

Elliott: I’m curious cuz I, I feel like a lot of people know or are familiar with therapists in their work, but maybe are less familiar with grief coaches.

Can you talk to us about what, what is a grief coach? What do they do? What’s the outcome? How does it differ from a therapist?

Stacy: So it’s interesting. So I’m actually, um, a certified grief recovery coach myself, and I would not be the person you would send to to do grief coaching, but I have found it just instrumental and so helpful as having additional tools to support people, um, as we’re working with them through their financial piece.

Um, grief coaches are different because, uh, they tend to be more active. With the way that they coach, and when I say [00:10:00] active, it’s more about helping you move through and forward. Okay. And if you can, um, often with therapy, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of therapy in my life and I think it’s great. And I’ve also worked with a lot of coaches.

The difference I find with therapy often it’s, um, looking at the situation, moving back and, and seeing some of the challenges maybe that, uh, you dealt with in your past that are showing up today that. , you know, maybe something that you’re, you’re, you’re struggling with. Whereas coaching tends to be more moving forward.

Mm-hmm. less looking backwards. And so what is your new life going to look like as a single woman or man? What do you need to do to collect all the paperwork and make sure that you are helping settle the estate? Do you want to still. [00:11:00] Live where you are currently? Or do you wanna move, Do you wanna downsize?

So it, it tends to be, um, a little bit more active, but the challenge I find Elliott, um, is that a lot of, uh, grief coaches do not take insurance. Whereas even and, and their in insurance does not pay for them. Yeah. Whereas if you’re working with a therapist, some do take insurance and even if they don’t, if you have out of network coverage through like a PPO or something, you can have that covered.

So that’s. Often the negative, but there are some therapists out there, and as you interview them, and I have a whole list of, of great ones, um, there are some that actually almost operate a little bit as coaches. So it’s a, it’s a therapeutic background with all the training, with the coaching, Um, but ultimately it’s just finding the right person and your gut’s gonna tell you, Is this someone that I can be real with that’s gonna, you know, be able to support me or do I feel [00:12:00] uncomfortable and.

Working with this person, you know, it’s that that gut really tells you.

Elliott: Yeah. Okay. So if I’m a widow listening right now, what, how should I decide between maybe a therapist and a grief coach if one isn’t sort of popping out at me and saying, This is the bar that I want to go down? What sort of split do you see between therapists and coaching and

Stacy: that sort of thing?

Yeah. Um, well, I would say interview them because it’s gonna resonate. What you need is gonna resonate with. So that’s the first piece. But then the second piece, let’s just be honest, is financial. Mm-hmm. , right? And so it, you know, depending on the cost structure of that grief coach, can you afford that out of pocket versus do you need help from your insurance?

So I would say those are the two things. Um, cuz each person is different. Um, some people really thrive in therapy. , and that’s their jam. And then others really thrive in more of a coaching [00:13:00] aspect. And I’ll be honest, I, you know, am totally agnostic. I’ve worked both with coaching as well as therapy throughout my life.

And I feel like it’s made me the happy person that I am. So, um, I use both, but every person’s gonna be different. And what they need in that space might be also, you know, different too. Mm-hmm. things may change. Yeah.

Elliott: No, those are great, great points. I’m, I’m curious, we talked about sort of putting a team together when your loved one dies, what sort of, let’s say people have put in teams or maybe haven’t put in teams.

What sort of mistakes have you seen in the past? It’s, I mean, grief comes up. We’ve talked about widow fog or brain fog. Yeah. Um, it’s an emotional time. Sometimes decisions get made that people may regret. I’m curious to what you’ve seen in

Stacy: the. Yeah, so I, the biggest mistake I’ve seen is people, um, not putting that team in place and instead, um, [00:14:00] leaning on family, which there’s.

Nothing wrong with that, but your brother is most likely not a financial advisor. Your sister most likely is not a trust and estate attorney. Yeah. Um, and your best friend, most likely is, is not a trained coach or mental health, uh, professional. And often those individuals, while you know, they. , they, they’re going through that loss too.

Mm-hmm. . And so it can be very difficult for them to be there for you. And sometimes we, when we talk to our clients, they feel like they’re the ones. Helping children, helping other family members, helping dear friends or work colleagues deal with their loss of their spouse, which is very difficult. And so mistakes can be made.

I’ll give you a great example. Uh, amazing woman who is, is just lovely. She [00:15:00] lost her husband a year and a half. We spoke to her about a month after the, the passing, and she wasn’t ready to work with a financial advisor. She called us a year later and said, I, I really need to work with you guys now. But in the meantime, her brother had been advising her on our finances, and in the meantime, she had bought a vacation home with the life insurance money, even though she has twins that are two years old and does not work.

Now, before we make judgements. It kind of made sense from a emotional perspective because the vacation home was right next to her brother’s home, and so the girls could be near their cousins, but when we actually were able to run the financial plan, she could not afford that vacation home. She was gonna be running out of money and we immediately had to get her back to work.

I not. From any situation mm-hmm. . So [00:16:00] things like that where, you know, making really big decisions like that right after a loss, not good, and making really big decisions like that without having it run through your financial picture and really understanding the context of it, uh, without a professional to help you.

Also not, not such a good.

Elliott: Wow. Yeah. That would be a difficult conversation to have in a Yeah. Difficult moving

Stacy: forward from that. Yeah. But we’ve had other situations where, uh, , um, Client came to us. We just started working with her this month. Uh, her husband passed away five years ago. She, her son, uh, was 16.

He’s now 21. She’s a New York City school teacher, and, um, never really looked at the. Insurance money, uh, just gave it to her uncle who was an annuity insurance salesperson. He invested everything in all these annuities. Um, [00:17:00] unfortunately they’re not good annuities and they’re very high fee, but she has lived like a mouse on her New York City.

School teacher salary supporting her son through college. Never looked at everything. We looked at everything together and she didn’t realize how much money she has. She has $7 million and it means as we ran her financial plan that she’s gonna be able to retire from New York City School system in about four years.

Wow. You know, I, I wouldn’t say that there was a mistake there, except that, you know, the annuities are, are really expensive and, and extremely difficult to get out because of surrender charges. But the mistake, I would say even more so was that she’s, she hasn’t been taking vacation. She’s lived like a, like I said, like a popper not realizing.

her son could have had a different upbringing. Mm-hmm. , but she was just too afraid to look at it and just said, Okay, I just have to live now on my salary and [00:18:00] make a go of it. Whereas now she’s looking at, when she passes away leaving her son well over $10 million by the time it all has accumulated, which again is great for him.

But it could have been a very different upbringing, a very different up. Yeah. There’s

Elliott: something to be said for those moments and those memories when they’re younger and the experiences those can provide. Yeah. Yeah. So I, I love those two stories. One where you sort of took action and there wasn’t really a missed opportunity, but it resulted going down a different path, and then the second where there is a missed opportunity, you didn’t get to enjoy or Yeah.

Have the fulfillment of what this money could provide. Yeah.

Stacy: Yeah, and I mean, I, I think. It’s understandable for a lot of people. They’ve never really dealt with the finances. In fact, only 20% of couples work together and do financial planning, investment management together. You just don’t see it too often.

So often she feels, um, really [00:19:00] unprepared and often there’s a, a real lack of. Self confidence, understandably. Because if you haven’t had experience, like, you know, I remember the first time getting behind the wheel of a car, uh, when I was taking driver’s ed and how frightened I was, um, because I didn’t have confidence.

And you might have been the same way. Yeah. Um, but now, you know, after years of driving, like, you know, we’re, we’re totally confident. Right. I, I, now I’m listening to music, drinking my little coffee, try to keep both hands on the wheel. Try to, but you know, I have a very different outset, you know, Outlook, so.

Mm-hmm. ,

Elliott: that brings up a good point. Tips would you have for someone who maybe hasn’t traditionally been involved in the finances to get started, to make it less scary to be able to do it?

Stacy: You know, it’s actually just diving in, to be quite honest. Um, you know, I found that when I was taking my studies for my cfp, my certified financial planning designation, I signed up for my first course.

And I will tell you, Elliott, I was so afraid I sat in that meet in that that class [00:20:00] looking around thinking I’m. The, the, the dumbest person in this, I know the least about money, least about numbers. And I have to say that as I took these courses, all of a sudden it became, Kind of exciting and fun and, and yes, I realize I’m very nerdy, so I don’t wanna tell everyone that, you know, this is gonna be exciting and fun.

But, but the more you learn and the more you, um, really engage, uh, with your finances, the. Less intimidating it is. And um, the more confidence you’re going to grow, the better decisions you’re gonna make. And you don’t have to do it on your own. You can, you know, hire a great financial advisor. You can reach out to savvy ladies, and we’ll be right there, you know, step by step with you.

You don’t have to do it alone. And I do have to tell you. This is not, uh, something that just you need in your life. Um, trust me, [00:21:00] your girlfriends, your sisters, your mom, other family members, um, you know, having them and having that open conversation of like, Hey, Would you go down this path with me? Can we be accountability partners?

Mm-hmm. to learn about budgeting, learning about credit cards, learn about investing, learning about social security retirement, learning about, you know, long-term care and, and health issues and how we protect against that in our older age. Um, and trust me, they’re gonna say yes because they need it to. We all need it.

We all.

Elliott: Absolutely. I’m, I’m curious cuz we keep bringing up people that maybe aren’t part of the professional team, if you will. I’m curious sort of what, who should you have on sort of the personal side after a loss and what roles should they felt? Cause we talked about the professional side, but I’m also curious, you know, there’s certain things you’ve talked about that they shouldn’t fill on the personal side, but where do you see people show up and where and what sort of support [00:22:00]

Stacy: should they.

So I’m really happy that you brought this up, Elliott, because one of the most often heard things when, um, someone’s at a funeral or a shiva is someone coming up, someone who truly cares, a family member or a friend who says, If there’s anything I can do, let me. They say that, and I’m a, I’m one of those people too, because it makes us feel better.

Yeah. Like I’ve done my, I’ve done my duty, but for the person who’s just gone through a loss, um, yeah, that doesn’t help us. That, that, I mean, that doesn’t help us. So what I would recommend to anyone who is a widow or widow is to actually take those people up on their offer. So, for example, Have one person write all the thank you notes for the individuals who either made donations in the person’s name, sent flowers, whatever that is.[00:23:00]

And have them take that project, have another person who you trust and feel comfortable with, help you start to collect the financial documents that you need. And that resource guide that I mentioned, the financial resources for widows lists all the documents that you’re gonna need for your state planning attorney and what you need to get in the next three.

and then what you can get down the line. And so have them start to help you. And even if they don’t know your passwords to the computer, it doesn’t matter. Just having someone there. Mm-hmm. to help you. Wonderful. Having a few people start to make those phone calls to cancel. The magazine subscription.

Reach out to the alma mater, switch the cell phone to just a one person plan and start to get a, a listing of those. These are things that take hundreds of hours, [00:24:00] and I will tell you from the side of a person helping. , it helps that friend or family member also deal with their loss. Mm-hmm. . So you’re, you’re really giving them a gift.

They really do wanna help. It’s just they’re clueless on how to help the, you know, bringing over Cass roles. We had that happen with a friend. Her kids hate lasagna, her kids. Casseroles. And so it was like, what do I do with all this food? Like, what am I gonna do? You know? That’s not what they needed. They needed other things.

Elliott: Yeah. You’re creating another problem when you show up when they have a fridge full of casserole when they could be Yeah. Helping writing thank you notes or something else. And I, I love the, the phrasing and just let them help, let. You know, take them up on their offer because they truly do wanna help and it gives them meaning and purpose as well through

Stacy: this loss.

Yeah, it really does, and it helps, like I [00:25:00] said, it really helps everyone deal with a loss. I have found in my life, and studies have shown also that the times where I feel the best about myself are the times when I’m volunteering and helping others. Mm-hmm. , we as human beings. We need that. And it’s a gift that often, um, we don’t get an opportunity for, especially in a situation like this.


Elliott: Is there anything else that you see people in the roles that they could fill? You know, we’ve talked about thank you notes, helping gather financial statements, maybe helping put a, a financial team or a state planning team in place. Anything else?

Stacy: So one of the, um, pieces that’s, uh, really lacking and missing is when you go to find those professionals, whether it’s an estate planning attorney or a financial advisor, asking a dear friend or family member to come to that meeting with you.

And I liken it to this. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this situation, [00:26:00] um, where you’ve gone to the doctors and they’ve given a diagnosis. And you can’t quite remember all the details of. . And so what a lot of people will do is they’ll make sure that they have a, you know, their daughter with them or their son with them when they go to those really important doctor’s appointments so that there’s a second person there that’s taking notes and doing all that.

And so I would encourage that you have someone do that with you too when you’re meeting with the attorney. When you’re meeting with your financial advisor, just having that second person, that set of ears, especially to deal with the widows fog, taking notes to dos boy, so much better and easier for you as well.

And that means that they. They can even be part of the communication with that professional on your behalf. Mm-hmm. if, if appropriate and needed. Yeah.

Elliott: Those notes are so critical. I’ve heard from [00:27:00] so many different widows that they went back and reviewed the notes for a month ago or three months ago, and just how helpful that was to sort of jog their memory about what happened in that conversation and yeah.

What are the next steps.

Stacy: Yep. Exactly. Exactly.

Elliott: Good. Well, I’m curious. We’ve talked a little bit about grief, but maybe we can shift and talk about that a little bit more and just, you’ve talked about grief coaches and therapists, but are there other things that you see widows do during this really awful and challenging time to help, I don’t wanna say move through grief, but to experience their grief?

Stacy: Yeah. No, I, I think the biggest piece that, um, needs to be spoken about is that grief is different for every. It, it, it really is. Um, yeah. And for some individuals, grief shows up as not being able to eat, um, not being able to sleep. And for others it [00:28:00] shows up as overeating or sleeping all the time and not wanting to get out of bed and engage with the world.

So just realizing that it shows up differently and actually, We’ll show up differently. Even day to day, minute to minute. When you’re speaking with someone who has gone through such a loss, we often say, How are you doing? Um, how, how, how the freak do you think I’m doing? Yeah. Instead having the question be, How are you doing today?

And that is, uh, a place where all of a sudden that person knows, okay. They get. They get it and it invites her or him who’s dealing with loss to be, to be real. And so, you know, just accepting that your grief is gonna show up, it’s gonna come, it’s gonna go, it’s, you know, it’s like the tides of a, uh, a notion it’s going to come in, it’s gonna [00:29:00] come out and.

Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as regular and timed as the tides actually are on the ocean. And just realizing that, um, getting the help and then also when you feel, when you feel ready, starting to engage with the world again. Um, the worst thing you can do is to grieve alone. and far too many people do grieve alone, and we do see that this has happened even more so because of Covid.

Mm-hmm. because people haven’t had the ability to, you know, put, get out of quarantine and have more people into their life. We are now in a better place, which is much better, but, It’s, it’s really important to make sure that whether it’s the synagogue, your church, your, you know, local, you know, poker, what, whatever is, you [00:30:00] know, water, exercise, class, whatever it is that you as best you can, keep people around you so you know that you’re not, you’re not alone in this.

Elliott: That’s great advice and I think it’s, it’s tough to do in those moments how, you know, you said when you’re ready to engage with the world again, I’m curious sort of what you’ve seen in people deciding when they’re ready or not. Because I think that’s a very challenging thing to determine when you’re going through it.

Stacy: And you may not know and you may, you know, may go to an event. Um, And say, Okay. Yeah, no, I’m just not, I’m not ready. And that’s okay. Um, you know, a really wonderful way to engage with the world again, is to be around other individuals that have experienced your loss. So I would say that, uh, a nice kind of toe step in [00:31:00] is meeting and being part of a, um, grief, grief, recovery co, um, group.

Mm-hmm. and. That’s a really wonderful way to know that, number one, you’re not alone. And number two, there’s a wonderful support network. And number three, there’s light on the end of, on the other side of the, the tunnel. Because what’s wonderful about those groups in particular is usually there are people, um, at all different places of loss.

Someone who are the loss might have been more immediate. Someone where it’s been six months a year or, or several years. Sometimes that might just focus on losing your spouse, but many of them deal with, you know, all types of, of loss of a child, of a, a best friend. Um, there are even groups that will deal with the loss of a, of a pet.

So, you know, everyone is dealing with different losses and just. [00:32:00] And, and seeing people be able to experience that move through to recover. And when I say recover, it doesn’t mean that. , you’re gonna be fine. I mean that, that you’re never gonna have a missing or a longing that, you know, you’ll just wipe this away.

That’s not we’re talking about, but learning to move on and learning to have, find happiness and joy in, in life again. Yeah.

Elliott: That’s great. Uh, how do you have certain groups you like or how, if you know, if I’m listening to. And I’m experiencing grief. How do I go find those groups? How do I make that an easy step?

Stacy: So there’s a couple great, um, resources. They’re right in the financial guide as well. Um, I think it’s called Soaring Wings. Um, let me just double check. Um, and. Again, Um, they have groups all over the [00:33:00] US Yes. Soaring wings. Um, and I’ll put, I’ll, I’ll send lymph in more information to you for, uh, The podcast.

Excellent. And that way we can, you know, make sure that there’s a bunch of, uh, great resources in the show notes. So, um, yeah, so it’s, uh, actually Soaring Wings, Healing Grief Coaching. Um, there’s also a couple national organizations too that I’ll make sure that I put in the, the show notes for.

Elliott: Great. I know listeners will appreciate that.

Thank you.

Stacy: Yeah. Yeah. And you can also, um, go to Psychology Today, the magazine, uh, they have a fantastic roster of therapists, in particular, if you’re looking at therapists and you, you can see which of those really specialize in, uh, grief and loss. So that’s another great resource for you too. And. [00:34:00] You know the, the grief program that I used was called the Grief Recovery Method, and you can go to that website, the Grief Recovery Method, and they also have a listing of resource of individuals who are grief coaches.

So, Perfect. Yeah. Good.

Elliott: Well, is there anything along the lines of having a financial team in place, grief mistakes people have made? Sort of next best steps that we haven’t talked about before we wrap things.

Stacy: Um, I would say that something that is really important that we need to talk about too is social security, um, because it can be a lifeline for a lot of individuals.

If you are a parent, have still children at home and your spouse has passed away, um, they could be eligible your children to receive a benefit of social security as well as you. Um, and then also, [00:35:00] uh, you. Qualify as young as age 60. Even if you don’t have young children at home, you can qualify as young as age 60 for a, what we call a survivor benefit, and there’s some really fantastic planning where you can be taking the survivor benefit, let your own social security benefit grow, and then switch to your own benefit at age 70 when it reaches that.

Top maximum. And the reason why I say how important this is, is that if you think about. Social Security, it’s an income source and far too many people don’t understand and utilize it correctly. Mm-hmm. leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table. And so, you know, making sure that you work with an advisor that understands social security or you can call the Social Security Office.

But what I would say, and you can do, go to and just call your local office. But call them, [00:36:00] Ask your question. Wait a few minutes, call back, ask the question again, , and make sure that two answers are the same. Because I have had experience where I’ve been given completely the wrong information, , and I look it up on the internet.

I’m like, This doesn’t sound right. So I call back and then I get information then. Then of course I have to call a third time and I call the third time, and then if that checks out, then it’s all good, but. That’s, that’s one of the things I would say that’s just like a very constructive help get yourself on the path to financial security and then also making really good decisions about that life insurance money.

Um, you know, if there is life insurance money, which, you know, I hope that there is either through the employer benefit group plan or maybe private insurance money. Making sure that it’s invested the right way for you to try and have it work as hard as possible to, to support you and get, you know, on that path to financial security.

And I wouldn’t worry about what the stock market is doing. I know we [00:37:00] have not talked about the stock market at all. Um, but you know, whenever this podcast airs, I think anyone will. , even if someone listens to this in a year, we’ll agree that the stock market is volatile. Mm-hmm. and it is what it is. But it is the best way to have your money work for you for the long term.

And that’s the key is that even if you are in your sixties or your seventies, your time horizon for this money working for you is 20, 30, 35 years. And so you do have a long time horizon to, to get this money, hopefully helping you down that path to financial. Yeah,

Elliott: great planning tips about social security making the best use of life insurance and then how, how to actually invest it for Yeah, the long term planning purposes.

Um, and we’re laughing here about asking and calling back cuz it’s a financial planner’s best friend to call back multiple times to make sure you’re getting the right information.

Stacy: Yeah, yeah. You always, especially something as important as social security, you want to make sure you’re getting the right [00:38:00] information.

And I’ll be honest. It’s not easy. It’s, it’s really quite complicated. Um, and I will just do a pitch for Savvy Ladies. We have, um, some amazing podcast on, uh, webinars by Mary Beth Franklin. She is one of the top social security experts in. The country and we have had just a wonderful, uh, relationship with her where she has given, uh, just fantastic information.

And you can go right on the website, put Social Security, and you’ll see a little, uh, video that pops up that will answer most of your questions. Hopefully, you know as much as you can, and if you still have more questions, reach out to that help. Mary Beth is one of our, our volunteers, which is

Elliott: phenomenal.

There you go. That’d be excellent to get matched with an expert in social security. Yeah.

Stacy: Yeah. Well, thank you, Elliot. This has been amazing. It’s been amazing. I feel like we’ve gone through so much and, um, my, my hope is that. [00:39:00] All the, the people listening today are able to use these resources and that they know that they’re not alone and they, they have the support.

They just have to, they just have to, you know, take that action to to, to act on that support. Yeah.

Elliott: We wanna make sure it’s all available for them. I would like to wrap things up with one question that I act every ask, every podcast guest, and that is, what’s one act of kindness that’s been transformational in your life?


Stacy: I’ve had so many people. Be kind and helpful to me. Um, I’m actually going to, I’m gonna highlight, uh, my, my family, my children, Sebastian’s 16. My daughter’s 13 and my husband, we’ve been together now. I married, uh, low over 20 years. . Well, I talk about this amazing charity and the journey of creating Francis Financial.

Um, Elliot, it was brutally hard. Um, [00:40:00] I was the lowest paid employee of Francis Financial until just, you know, about eight years ago because every time I had money, I would put it back into the charity to support and I worked. Um, crazy hours. My maturity leave for my son was, was three days and my daughter was three weeks, and I missed, I missed a lot of time.

Um, I’m gonna get teary, uh, but I, I can be with them now and I, because I do have the support and I was able to build these two really important organizations to do their work. And so I just really wanna honor them because they’ve had patients, they’ve had understanding, they’ve had just unbelievable.

Support and I just feel really so, so blessed to be married to someone who supports me. Um, and so blessed to see two just loving kind kids who. I now get to spend a lot of time with who I really love. So I feel [00:41:00] having, having that support network in your life, just Wow. Really important.

Elliott: Yeah. Thank you for sharing.

I, I can feel how blessed you feel with

Stacy: all of that. Yeah, I do. I do, I do. Well, thank you. Yeah.

Elliott: Thank you for being a guest today and for sharing all these great resources. I’ll make sure to include, uh, all the links that you’ve mentioned and the show notes here so people have access to those and. I just really appreciate you being on the podcast today,

Stacy: Stacy.

Oh, thank you, Elliott. And sending everybody who is listening and viewing a big hug out there too.

Elliott: Thank you.