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Most outrageous client requests

In your career as a planner, you’re bound to meet a character or two. Plus, when you consider the unique bond that develops in an advisor-client relationship, it makes sense you will field some, well, unorthodox requests from clients from time to time.

Scroll through the following list to see advisors' favorite anecdotes on baffling, funny and just plain strange queries.

Lori Heppner, director of client services, Towerpoint Wealth
A long-time, elderly client had been trying his luck with the online dating world. We talk often and he would let me know how it was going. He made a few connections that weren’t the best.

One day he asked me if I could help him with his online dating profile. I hesitantly obliged. “Sure,” I said. “I have never made one for myself but I can try to help.”

After that I prayed he would forget he asked for my help. The prayers have worked … so far.
Jeff Motske, CEO of Trilogy Financial
I once had a client who asked me about a signed Babe Ruth baseball that he had in his possession. He felt that it was a great addition to his financial plan because similar baseballs had been sold for tens of thousands, and in some rare cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What he failed to realize was that this was a highly illiquid investment. His item would need to be authenticated first. Additionally, this was a thin market. There just aren’t that many baseball memorabilia collectors who have the means to buy an item at such a high price. It could take quite a bit of time to find a buyer, making the value of that signed baseball very hard to redeem.
Zach Hearne, wealth advisor, Signature Wealth
I believe it was in 2017, via our partnership with a local bank, that I received a call from a prospect wanting to meet with me. We scheduled an appointment and the following day I drove to meet him.

In our meeting we discussed everything that is normally part of the conversation. The client signed over $100,000 and asked us to buy him several defense stocks (defense being military and weapons manufacturers, etc.)

The next day we enter the orders and all is well. The following week he calls me very angrily wanting to discuss fees (which were presented very clearly the week before and he agreed with them) it was somewhere along the lines of 1%. However when he saw $1,000 come out of the account it shocked him. That’s not all that uncommon.

What was uncommon is that the stocks we purchased in two business days were up over 6%, making the client roughly $6,000! Instead of having us sell the stocks and continue to manage his money for him making a gain of $5,000 (net of fees) in three days, he told us to reverse the trade and return his money, making him no profit at all.
Michelle Smith, CEO, Source Financial Advisors
A client once asked us why the cash machine at their usual bank branch wasn’t working, thinking somehow we had control over this since the debit card was the one linked to their investment account with us, and asked if we could help out fixing the ATM.
Greg Hill, financial advisor, Keating & Associates
I was teaching a money management seminar years ago and talking about different types of investments. I got to the asset class of cash and CDs and was discussing their importance and value.

It was then I got a question from the back of the room. She asked, “I have lots of CDs at home and listen to music on them all the time. You’re telling me these are an investment and are worth a lot of money?”

It was hard to answer her question with a straight face.
Florina Shutin, financial advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors
This financial advisor was used like a mutual friend between a warring high school couple. Except the couple were adults ... supposedly.

The husband client wanted to know, “Can you ask my wife if she’s divorcing me?”

A few months later, the impending divorce was confirmed and I was asked by the wife client: “Can you tell my husband that I’ll sign the divorce papers if he gives me half of the proceeds (to a sale of an illiquid investment)?”
Chip Munn, senior wealth advisor, Signature Wealth
One afternoon several years ago, a client called.

“My son is trying to get a new job and I’m hoping you can help,” she said.

I expected to her to ask for a reference or letter of recommendation. Instead she asked the most unusual question I’ve received in over 20 years.

“My son has a drug test tomorrow and as much as I hate to say it, he’s not sure that he can pass it. Do you know of anything he could do to help improve his chances?”

We pride ourselves on offering a concierge level of service, but I was floored.

Fortunately, our office was near our local healthy food store and they had several suggestions for her.

I’m not sure how well our client slept that night, but thankfully her son passed the test and got the job.