A passion for working with widows

Sep 4, 2011 @ 12:01 am

By Jeff Benjamin

Landing in Houston for a scheduled layover on a business trip in California on the morning of 9/11, Kathleen Rehl never imagined she wouldn't get there.

After the airport was evacuated, the owner of Rehl Financial Advisors spent the night in a Houston hotel, where she experienced a “major anxiety attack.” The next day, she drove back home to Tampa, Fla., leaving her checked-in luggage behind.

For Ms. Rehl, the tragedy of that day was a significant springboard to the transition that has her now almost exclusively committed to providing financial advice and guidance to widows.

“I started working with widows before 9/11, but now it's my whole passion,” she said. “It was after the events of 9/11 that I really started thinking about this.”

Inspired by her pastor husband, Tom, who died in 2007, Ms. Rehl had been specializing in serving members of the clergy prior to 9/11.

These days, with widows and single women now making up a growing portion of her client base, she is spending more time on speaking tours and writing about the unique financial needs of single women.

Last year, Ms. Rehl wrote the independently published book “Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows.”

“Most financial advisers don't realize or think about the fact that 70% of widows fire their adviser within the first year after their husband dies,” she said.

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