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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

It Happened to Me

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There are few things more heartening to a young planner with egg on his face and foot in his mouth than a story of a successful planner who botched something similar and lived to tell the tale. We asked a few experienced planners to share a few mishaps from their early days.

Charles Parker’s favorite occurred when a co-worker tried to sell flood insurance to a client. Normally this is a good idea for residents of the area, says the Houston-based planner, except that the client lived near the top of a high-rise condominium.

Parker’s own firm occasionally had mishaps of another kind: Back when Parker Financial Advisors had a word processing department that customized master documents, “we occasionally would have a report slip through with another client’s name embedded in the text–or, worse yet, another client’s spouse,” he says. “For example, ‘Tom and Carol Smith’ would then get a plan that advised Tom to ‘name your spouse Debbie’ as a beneficiary.”

Bill Jerome of Capital Financial Services in Glenville, New York, reports an “Oops!” of another kind. He had always met with a particular elderly client at her apartment. When he went there for a meeting, there was no answer. Shortly thereafter, his office called to say that while he was at her apartment waiting for her, she was at his office (thirty minutes away), impatiently waiting for him.

As for Peg Downey of Money Plans in Silver Spring, Maryland: She accidentally placed a client check in her pants pocket, forgot about it, and proceeded to wash the pants–whereupon she had to confess to doing some “money-laundering.”