Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I have a client couple I’ve worked with for many years. I have a great relationship with the husband and a moderate one with the wife. Recently the three of us met and I asked about their longer-term plans for what they’d like to do in retirement. They have been saving for some time and have amassed quite a portfolio and I wanted to engage in a discussion about their plans for the money. The wife, who is a successful lawyer and very sharp woman, got offended and told me it was none of my business whether they wanted to retire at all, or what they would do in retirement. She made it clear it was my job to invest on their behalf, not to delve into their personal lives.

It would be nice to have a more relational discussion and not just always talk about portfolio results. But she sure slapped me down fast.

Is this a gender thing? Would it have been better for me to have my junior advisor (who is female) in the room to ask about their plans? I am gun-shy and uncomfortable dealing with this woman going forward for fear I will ignite her again.

A.S.