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The Agile Financial Planner

Mar 16, 2020

I’ve been in this business for 28 years and I’ve been through some crazy markets. We all know the markets go up and down, but sometimes when they are down it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. On this episode, I noodle on what I have discovered from my experience from these types of seasons and I offer you some do’s and don’ts to help get you and your clients through this challenge. Join me and we’ll see if we can see the good in these crazy times. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:22] These are the best of times and the worst of times
  • [3:26] A bear market is like a forest fire
  • [9:05] How do you get through this with clients and your business? 
  • [26:00] Here’s what not to do

When you’re up you’re up

But when you’re down you’re down. For the past 10 years, the markets have been up. That’s been a heck of a run. But the good times can make it hard to really visualize the challenging times. This rocky road is where you can make great strides in your thinking and in your practice. These outside forces will force you to regroup, become more disciplined, and grow as an advisor. Just like working out with a personal trainer, bear markets bring on a good sweat. 

A bear market is like a forest fire

A bear market is a very natural, organic thing just like a forest fire. Strong, healthy trees grow when conditions are right. But those same optimal growing conditions also lead to undergrowth and bushes. After several years in these conditions, the forest becomes overgrown. Over time, the forest begins to suffer. Even the most robust trees can fall ill due to all the competition for resources. Without proper management, conditions become ripe for a forest fire. 

The forest fire comes and clears out excess growth. It weeds out the weaker players and redistributes the resources of the forest. Only the strongest survive. Although it is painful, it is a healthy, necessary part of the ecology. A bear market is the same. It efficiently helps reallocate resources to the most sustainable businesses and decreases competition. The longer we go without forest fires the more damaging they can be. The same goes for market corrections. 

What can you do to get through this difficult time with your clients and your business?

Tumultuous markets can be scary for you and your clients. But it’s your job to help guide your clients through this challenge. Here are some tips for what you can do to help them and you through:

  • Do take care of yourself first - do the things that bring joy to your life.
  • Do get yourself mentally fit - you’re going to need to bring your A-game to help your clients 
  • Do show them where you add value - this is your time to shine. 
  • Do compartmentalize - a work-life balance is so important right now. 
  • Do present strength to your clients - but don’t be overconfident
  • Do reach out to your clients personally - show them you care about each one of them individually
  • Do listen - your clients are scared right now, they need someone to listen to their fears
  • Do ask yourself - what does this make possible?

There are several things you should not do during these tumultuous times

  • Don’t focus on facts and figures - this is an emotional time for your clients
  • Don’t predict - realize what you don’t know. 
  • Don’t hide - communicate with each client personally. Don’t hide behind mass communication and technology. 
  • Don’t overthink things. 
  • Don’t do the coulda woulda shoulda
  • Don’t try to solve anything
  • Don’t take too much ownership - You are not responsible for bad markets and you are not responsible for your clients’ life. 

Hopefully, these tips can help you and your clients make it through this challenge. Listen in to hear my full list of do’s and don’ts. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Roger Whitney

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