Will customers stay calm or will they continue into 2022?
A year ago, I could not have dreamed that we would still feel the impact of Covid-19 as Christmas approaches once again.
It has been a year of challenges and opportunities for us in the consulting industry but overall we have come off relatively unscathed. However, it is undeniable that our world has changed and there seems to be a general acceptance that the Covid will be with us for many years to come: we just have to learn to live with it …
What I have seen with clients this year is a change in mindset.
In many cases, their world has shrunk, their focus has shrunk, and little things that would have been water on a duck’s back before have become much more important. More time to think it over hasn’t always been a good thing, from a financial advice perspective: clients worried more and were more inclined to react instinctively to news and events. It took patience and empathy on our part as counselors to reassure and support them.
Clients are reassessing their priorities and goals, with many looking to retire earlier and move on to a slower pace of life. This questioning of their values slowly took hold of customers – an evolution rather than a revolution – but for some, the world has been turned upside down.
There are still go-getters out there, but the truth is, a lot of people have really enjoyed their forced time at home, whether it’s spending time with family, gardening, or going for a daily walk.
I have experienced this myself. For a few months, during the tighter Covid restrictions, my daily routine was to walk a mile and a half each way to spend the day at one of our branches. I spent long hours in one place – something very rare in my life. I have come to appreciate this stillness and am reluctant to let go of it altogether, even as the pace of life has picked up again.
“Good for the soul”
The shift in focus from creating wealth to developing a soulful lifestyle is something that we as financial advisers need to address. We’ve always talked to clients about goals and aspirations that are about lifestyle choices rather than pots of money, but it’s different.
Before, it was about putting the transplant now in order to enjoy the fruits of your labor later. The new mindset is about getting out of the rush, working less hard and working fewer hours, which means we need to find solutions that will get customers what they want in a new time frame.
It almost seems sacrilegious to say “don’t worry, be happy” to customers – to let them be content with a calmer future rather than helping them reach for the stars, but, in reality, it’s an approach. smoother and softer which should suit the new generation of advisers we welcome into the profession today.
Counselors today are trained to understand money-related behaviors and to empathize with their clients. However, managing the growth of clients’ wealth is still important to ensure peace of mind and financial security: a quiet life requires the right level of income and resources that can be mobilized in an emergency.
Carefree retirement comes at a price… It is our responsibility to ensure that our clients understand any compromises they make with their financial security.
There are still mountains for clients to climb over the next two years. Rising inflation, still troubled markets and uncertainty over Covid will give us many challenges to overcome, and it is very difficult for even the most experienced investment manager to guess what the future holds for us. Reserve.
As advisors, we must preserve the trust our clients place in our advice by recognizing the changes that have occurred and providing sound, responsible, adaptable and flexible advice.
Carl Lamb is a Certified Financial Planner and Director at Smith & Pinching
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