Saying these last two months have been trying would be an understatement. Beyond the struggles we all share of quarantine life – cabin fever, boredom (or alternatively, no breaks for essential and frontline workers), and a lack of flattering haircuts – those in the world of wealth management and financial planning have had the market’s instability and clients’ concerns to contend with. Here at Beck Bode, our practice was founded by financial advisors for financial advisors: we always put them first. The same advice we’re providing internally – from self-care to how we’re handing client conversations during the Coronavirus – we want to share with you. We’re all in this together.
How to Talk to Your Clients about COVID-19
We’re all getting calls and emails from clients about financial concerns, but these are really concerns about uncertainty. Financial uncertainty to be sure, but also just about their life plans, businesses, and what the world will look like in three, six, eighteen months from now. Our own Managing Partner James Bode and Misty Lynch, CFP has a few tips to pass on to other financial advisors:
- Be proactive in client communication. Clients call when their worries have peaked. Don’t wait for them to reach out, instead call them to give proactive updates and talk to them about their concerns before it reaches a boiling point.
- Steer the conversation from “supposed to” to “is.” Many clients are getting stuck on how their financial plans and life should be right now, versus focusing on what actually is. Help them understand the situation and how to adjust their financial plans.
- Help your clients feel in control again. A big part of what a financial advisor can do is provide tools for clients to control and plan for the future. From financial to estate planning, we can help clients remove vulnerabilities and lose the sense of helplessness.
- Start helping them confront the new normal. While many parts of our way of life, from the economy to services, will recover, this pandemic will leave an impact on everyone. Help them look at their businesses and employment to avoid those mental “absolutes” that can crumble in a crisis.
Misty, and all of us here at Beck Bode, believe that advisors who empower their clients to take what they have learned and apply it to their lives and plans will fare better than those who just want things to go “back to the way things were” and ignore the lessons and pain we have all been through.
Emergency Resources to Individuals and Businesses
It’s easy to be discouraged by all the bad news that has come out of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, many organizations are coming together to help individuals and businesses on the local, state, and federal level get through this. Here are some resources that you and your clients may be able to use.
The Federal CARES Act
You’ve already seen some of the impacts of this first major federal bill signed into law. Spend some time looking at the CARES homepage or reviewing the bill to learn more about how it affects and can benefit you. In the same database, you can keep an eye on the upcoming HEROES act.
The Small Business Administration Resources
The SBA has several resources trickling in from the CARES and other legislation, including the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), which is undergoing new rounds of funding regularly. See the full resource and relief guide here of the SBA.
State Resources for Massachusetts
As a Massachusetts-based company, we’re also looking at state resources for ourselves and clients. You can find a great collection of resources from the Baker-Polito administration (as well as info on closures and reopenings) on their COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Businesses page.
The Importance of Caring for Yourself and Family
We know right now you’re focusing on your business and your clients – we all suffer from that tunnel vision. We look at caring for ourselves and our families with financial stability and practicing social distancing, but it’s important to go beyond that, especially as the crisis stretches on.
- Practice self-care and make sure your family and staff are too. Go for a walk, exercise with online classes, talk over video chat with those you care about. You are not alone, even when isolated.
- Make working from home work. Depending on your industry and state, you may be working from home for a while. Buy a desk, establish a routine, and accept it isn’t the office. It’s okay to keep the PJs on.
Looking for more resources on COVID-19? Check out our article aimed at clients, Why You Need to Continue Your Financial Plan During COVID-19. We also regularly have webinars and online events for both clients and advisors, check our Facebook page for more details. We’re also currently hiring advisors! We’re always here to help, from advising clients to our partners in the industry. Contact us today to learn more. Stay safe – we’ll get through this.