We are a couple of months into something no one realistically thought could happen. No one thought that a virus would spread rampantly through the country, through the world. And no one thought it was possible for it to cripple the world economy.
We are living something we all thought was an impossibility.
But in this moment, seeds of possibility lie dormant, waiting to sprout. The question is, are you going to nurture them and harvest them on behalf of your clients?
As Advice-based Advisors, the are lessons to be gleaned from virtually every situation that can help us serve our clients better.
The lessons may come from your direct experience. They may come from other clients or even other advisors. But they are there if you take the time to reflect and gather them up to deploy as part of your Advice-based Planning Process.
Let's look at a few areas and see how lessons we have learned during the pandemic may serve our clients.
BUDGETING- If you are like me, you have at least a few clients who make significant income, but swear the "can't" save any money. Life happens to them and it's just "impossible to save."
Most people during the pandemic have experienced a significant improvement in cash-flow. Suddenly the truth about their spending has made itself clear. They spend their money eating out, shopping as a hobby and self-care to name a few categories.
You can help them keep at least some of the good habits the pandemic has forced upon them. Cooking at home and meal prep might be options in a way they weren't before. How about more thoughtful shopping? Suddenly the ladies who spend hundreds on their hair are coloring it themselves and doing their own manicures.
They will not be able to maintain this level of spending forever, but you can guide them to choose which things are worth spending on and which are out of habit?
SAVINGS- Along with those big-spenders, I bet you have a couple of clients who you can't get to keep adequate emergency savings. I can't tell you how many times I have helped a client get to $10k in savings, just to see it drop down because they accidently went on vacation or bought a trailer.
All those people who felt like their jobs were guaranteed should now be more aware that unknown risks are around the bend at all time and that they need to be adequately prepared.
This is a great time to set new emergency savings goals with clients and use some of that extra cash-flow to improve their emergency savings balances.
INVESTMENTS- Do you have any clients who are near retirement that have refused to lower their risk tolerance? They are so "trained" to deal with the vicissitudes of the market, that they can't see that when they are actively pulling income that the equation looks different?
After 10 years of the market heading basically up, it is easy for clients to forget that down is also an option. Now is a fantastic time to have fresh conversations about risk. You might not make any big moves right now, but you can begin planning for the other side of the market downturn.
INSURANCE- With 80,000 deaths and counting in the U.S. alone, people are more aware of their mortality than ever. Clients who felt invincible might suddenly be willing to discuss that life insurance that they were blowing off, or the disability insurance that they never got around to.
Maybe the fact that around one-third of those deaths occurred in nursing home populations may make an LTC policy with a robust home care benefit more important that ever. Now is a very poignant time to reassess insurance decisions, especially among those who have been procrastinating or avoiding reality.
ESTATE PLANNING- I keep hearing from my estate planning attorney friends how their business has suddenly spiked. They went from worrying about cash-flow to worrying about how to keep up with the surge in business. People are thinking about contingency planning right now.
Do you have clients who have been fixin' to complete their estate plans? Now is the time to re-engage with them!
I know that we have all been facing our own challenges in the midst of the pandemic. You are probably working from home, potentially along with your spouse. And you are likely home-schooling your kids and trying to figure out how to escape in the midst of a lock-down. Or maybe you are home alone. Like REALLY alone.
It is really easy to be focused on our own survival. I want to challenge you to get introspective and think about how you can use the lessons you learn during this time to serve your clients.
Grab a journal and ask yourself…"What's in this for them?"
-What challenges are clients facing that I can help them with?
-What is easier now than ever?
-What has the pandemic brought to the surface that will inspire clients to action?
Don't let this crisis, or any other, pass without learning the lessons it provides.
If you are feeling alone or adrift in your practice, you don't have to go at it alone. We have a community of Intentional Advisors who meet every month to learn and support one another.
The group is called the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind. We meet live monthly and I teach something new each month and then open it up for Q&A. It gives the community a chance to learn and grow together.
If you are interested in checking out the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind, I would love to invite you to join risk-free. Sign-up using the link below and you will get your first month free, no strings attached. If you love it, stay! If you don't, just let me know in the first month and you won't be charged anything!