The personal side of financial advice
“How are you and your family coping with the pandemic?”
When this question was posed to me the first time, it stopped me in my tracks. I was prepared to discuss our finances, my thoughts on investment strategies and what financial goals we had. I’ve been in this industry for a while but still regularly pause when what we advocate for becomes present in my personal life. This was one of those moments.
The last year has been trying on many, my family included. We became armchair epidemiologists, set up an impromptu home school and dealt with an unexpected job search, all on top of trying to maintain everyday family life in the face of global uncertainty.
Now we didn’t have it as difficult as many out there, however, I wasn’t prepared to answer the “how are you and your family coping with the pandemic” question.
“I’m worried,” was my response, probably a lot more than I was admitting. I miss hugging my parents and seeing the kids play with their grandparents; I could really go for beers and wings at a pub; I now understand why I never became a teacher; I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to support the family; but above all else, I just wanted to know that we’d be okay. It was a conversation I needed. It was a conversation that cannot be commoditized.
This wasn’t information I readily provided. It wasn’t the reason for the meeting, yet it revealed the thoughts that were bouncing around inside my head. One of the reasons I work with a financial advisor is because I want someone to “look after it for me.” This conversation helped me realize that someone can’t look after it unless I verbalize it. I’m thankful that I have a guide to bring these things to the surface.
So, what did we need to become financially prepared?
This conversation brought three key needs to light:
- An emergency fund – We had some money put aside, but nothing that was specific to alleviate the stress and draw on in situations like this. We could have been in the situation of liquidating a part of our investments if we needed to raise cash.
- Insurance – Yes, we had some, but was it enough? The necessity for insurance coverage is clearer these days, but there are also things we are no longer doing, so could we cut back coverage in other places? These were considerations that we still need to address, but we flagged it.
- Sharing our financial preparedness with the family – My kids are too young to be really involved, however there wasn’t a single place where our assets were listed. It was all in my head or on scraps of paper all over the house. So, this became the third area of immediate focus. We performed an inventory of our assets, passwords, accounts, documents, etc. so we now have it in one place if one of us ever needs it.
Financial advice that sticks
As an investor, the relief I experienced having aired out and addressed my concerns was further proof to me that the value of investment advice is worth much more than the returns on my investments. As a financial professional, I was reminded, yet again, of how impactful we can be on investors lives. So, what did my advisor do that made it easy for my wife and I to implement his suggestions?
- Took it bit by bit, so that it’s easier to implement
- Had multiple financial discussions over several sessions
- Delivered a formal written plan
- Provided some time for implementation
- Supported our implementation and checked in regularly (they even sent us further reading on some of the items we discussed)
- Promised to review the plan regularly and connect with us when needed
- Scheduled a few touch points to stay up to date about changes in our lives.
We’re not done. But being prepared is a process – a process I’m glad we’re taking part in.
For more information on how to navigate the preparedness conversation, speak to your CI Global Asset Management Sales Team about the Practice Management Team’s Preparedness insights.