By Bridget Venus Grimes, CFP®
As the COVID-19 pandemic has put our economies and world to a screeching halt, industries and people individually have had to pause, look inward, and assess if things need to change moving forward.
And as president and founder of a financial life planning firm for women executives, WealthChoice, I, too, have had to reflect on our new reality, which I’ve written about in Advisor Perspectives here and here.
One thing that the pandemic has made abundantly clear is the importance of planning-based advisory firms that look at the long term.
When financial advisors provide clients with holistic, goal-based advice throughout the relationship, it establishes trust and confidence — and your clients will listen to your advice and stay the course when the going gets tough.
Focus on the Long Term, not on Chasing Returns
As Morningstar writes, financial advisors are no longer just investment experts; they are behavioral coaches, financial counselors, and budgeting masters.
The financial planning profession turned 50 years old last year, and long gone are the days when investors only went to advisors for stock tips or investment strategies. Financial planners need to be dedicated to guiding clients through life events — not chasing the hottest stocks or trying to time the market.
When the dust settles and we are finally beyond the pandemic, your clients will need your sound advice, whether it’s about their retirement goals, funding their children’s education, or paying for their mortgage.
How Planning-Based Advisors Can Make Their Value Known
Right now, financial advisors are telling their clients to sit tight and not make any reactive investment decisions (even though clients are understandably antsy and nervous). You know this is the best decision for your clients’ portfolios, but how can you make your value more clearly felt by clients? Here are a few tips:
1. Let clients know what you’re doing behind the scenes.
This might include rebalancing or pursuing tax-savvy strategies that allow them to save money during market downturns. As we mentioned in our last blog post, many clients don’t know what you do on a daily basis, so explain it to them.
2. Send a questionnaire asking about their current situation.
Questions could be “Is the pandemic currently negatively affecting your job(s) and earned income?” or “Do you anticipate needing to provide financial support to any family member, friend, or other individual resulting from the crisis?” Based on the questionnaire answers, schedule meetings with your clients. Continue to have ongoing meetings with all of your clients as well.
3. Remind them of all the work they’ve done to prepare.
Clients have prepared for events like this by paying off debt, building up emergency savings, putting their investments in retirement accounts, and taking other steps.
4. Remind clients that this is why we plan.
Let them know that you stress-test their portfolio against unexpected situations during the financial planning process. Now they are seeing their financial plan at work for them.
Work With a Planning-Based Financial Advisor Today
If you come from a practice that emphasizes financial planning and discipline, your clients will trust you and your approach more when times in the market are bad. All of the Member Firms in the Equita Financial Network are planning-based firms, and because of the holistic advice each firm provides year-round to clients, investors are trusting their advisors and feel better equipped to ride out the storm.
If you’re interested in learning more about Equita Financial Network or want to get in touch with one of our Member Firms, reach out to us today.