For widow Margaret, having someone to pick up and run with practicalities like finance at a time of grief and family uncertainty was ‘priceless’. 

In 2007, Margaret lost her husband, Robert, a life-long coppersmith, after 25 years together. Understandably, this turned her whole world upside down in an instant, and saw her fighting her way through chaos and sadness. 

“The solicitors who were dealing with my husband’s estate at the time, put me in touch with Phil,” explained Margaret. 

“There was the usual matter of probate to sort out, but my husband had also received a little inheritance before he died, of some land in our native Northern Ireland, and I wasn’t sure how to proceed with looking after that moneyI’m not very financially literate and I don’t really understand investments. 

“Not only that, but the pension he had received from an employer he’d worked with for years, came to me, and I needed to make sure everything was dealt with wisely.” 

In fact, given that Margaret, like many female partners from a certain generation, had a limited income as a part-time shop and bar worker, the legacy Robert had left her would need to sustain her now she’d been left alone, for the rest of her life. 

“Phil was so good, kind, considerate and sympathetic, I just knew instantly I could trust this man with my life, and I’ve done so ever since,” she added.  

Things were particularly difficult for six or seven months after Margaret’s bereavement. 

“I was grieving and finding my feet, and our wider family was also struggling to adjust to life without Robert,” she continued. 

“Phil went above and beyond to help me through that time – providing a caring, listening ear when I just needed someone to talk to. Also, knowing that I didn’t have a clue about investments, he patiently explained anything I needed to know, and would keep explaining until I understood. 

He also painstakingly listened so that, over time, he was able to pull together a financial plan that would work for me.  

Quite frankly, I’ve never had money in my life and so my view was that I didn’t want to risk losing any. Phil understood this and worked out something that would give me enough profit to live on and secure my future. 

“Now, many years later, he keeps an eye on how everything is doing for me, and recommends changes where he thinks they are needed, in my best interests.” 

Picking a way through uncertainty 

Margaret was relatively young when Robert died, being 11 years his junior. She lives a simple life, at home on Hull’s outskirtsenjoying time with friends and a devout church-goer, and needed just enough to give her security. “I worked part-time and didn’t know what my pension was going to be, and I wasn’t sure if Robert’s work pension would come through, so the future was quite uncertain for a while.” 

In the end, though, it all panned out, under Phil’s careful oversight. Margaret was lucky enough to be among the last remaining women to qualify for her State Pension at the age of 60, the work pension did arrive and – thanks to making the right decisions about her nest egg from her husband’s estate, she also has a rainy day fund that is there for emergencies and generates a little extra income for her, year after year. 

“Phil was almost like a counsellor to me, poor man, because I’d gone from knowing exactly where I was and what I had to live on, with a double income, to suddenly having to think ‘can I manage and what does the future hold, while also dealing with the emotional and family stuff that goes with losing a partner. 

“I desperately needed somebody that I could trust, to help me, and Phil was that person. 

“I now have complete peace of mind and, although I’d rather have my husband back, obviously, at least I know I can manage without him now I have to. 

“Above all, I feel secure, and that’s all down to the trust I have in Phil. 

“When my time comes, I know everything’s in order for my legacy too, and what I’ve kept by will go to our families in line with the wishes Robert and I had.” 

Phil added: “Sadly, Margaret’s experience is all-too-common among women who have worked part-time, or in lower-paid jobs, for most of their lives. Losing a partner means not only the obvious grief, but also real worries about how they are going to manage on their own, financially. 

 “This makes it especially important that they seek trusted advice on how best to pick their way through this potential minefield and make the decisions that will help secure their long-term security.” 

 “Phil was so good, kind, considerate and sympathetic, I just knew instantly I could trust this man with my life, and I’ve done so ever since,” said Margaret.  

The challenge 

Margaret entire world was thrown into confusion overnight, when husband Robert died after a quarter-of-a-century together. Like many women who’ve worked in lower-paid, part-time jobs all their lives, she no longer knew if she’d have enough income to manage on her own – let alone sufficient pension income in the future. And, a decade younger than her husband, this would potentially need to last her a while. Not only that, but, with probate and various assets belonging to her husband to sort out, Margaret, who ‘doesn’t really understand finances and investments’, needed a helping hand from someone who does.  

The solution 

Enter, Phil. Recommended to Margaret by the solicitor dealing with Robert’s estate, he sat with Margaret and listened to her wants, needs and aspirations, to ensure he had a thorough understanding in order to organise her financial affairs in the right way. Based on that, he was able to arrange an appropriate spread of savings and investments, that would balance a little growth and income, with full access to her money if she needed it. He also made sure the money she inherited from Robert was placed in an appropriate pension fund that reflected Margaret’s view of risk while having the capacity to grow, and meet Margaret’s income needs for the rest of her life. Above all, understanding that our finances are really just the building blocks on which we build our lives, Phil spent the time simply being there, as a sounding block and confidante for Margaret, at a really difficult time in her life. 

 The results 

 In sharp contrast to the uncertainty she felt when Phil first met her, Margaret now has the peace of mind of knowing that her financial affairs are all in order, and she has sufficient means to live the – relatively simple – life she wants to, with enough of a cushion, financially, to support any unanticipated costs in the future. And that, she says, is ‘priceless’. You can read Margaret’s full story here. 

“Phil was so good, kind, considerate and sympathetic, I just knew instantly I could trust this man with my life, and I’ve done so ever since,” said Margaret.