A client approached us concerned about her recently widowed friend, Linda. The sparkle had faded from the eyes of this lively 66-year-old former lawyer after the sudden passing of her husband David six months earlier. 

Mountains of paperwork and never-ending financial decisions were overwhelming Linda. Instead of getting better with time, her anxiety was increasing and fear of making a wrong choice paralyzed her. 

She increasingly felt like her husband’s investment advisor was connecting less and less with what she needed.

A Holistic Approach

To get to know Linda better, we invited her to Redwood Studio for afternoon tea. The meeting allowed Linda to share her concerns and ask questions at a relaxed pace.  


We learned about Linda the person. Her tremendous creativity, her closeness with her children and grandchildren, her lifelong commitment to helping others and most of all her dreams – both achieved and those she hoped to revive. Linda also shared with us her deepest fear: uncertainty about her financial future and whether she would be OK.

Mapping the Journey 

To build the foundation for Linda’s next chapter, we started by creating a map of her family values and organizing a clear picture of what she has. 

Our discussions on Linda’s values helped her visualize her family’s story — her money roots, her priorities and the legacy she wants to leave.

As we converted the stack of statements, documenting investments, real estate and various trust entities into one simple clear picture, we could see Linda’s relief. 

Like many clients we advise, Linda told us that numbers were not her thing — or so she thought. As we translated those numbers into more tangible concepts, like tuition for the grandchildren, a much-desired safari to Africa, and ongoing philanthropy, the picture became clearer.

She was ready to take action– and was ready to expand the conversation to include her adult children. Created listened to understand the concerns of the whole family. Through our discussions, Linda’s children now feel like their mom was taken care of and just as important, Linda is in control.

*Although based on a variety of different clients, the names and stories are fictional.

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