As Financial advisors we run various scenarios with our clients called “What If’s”. This is to plan for a number of situations such as:
- Retiring early
- Changing career
- Moving property
- Investing excess monies
- Financial shock
The last item – financial shock – can be difficult to model. Financial crises don’t have a play book and they are never the same which is very apparent in this latest crisis. There are very few elements of the economy globally that are not impacted and we hear daily reports of increasing unemployment and other negative economic news. What can you do? Over the coming weeks and months we will be meeting with clients to update their plans (and their what if’s) to reflect the new reality – maybe earnings/ incomes have been temporarily reduced, maybe your investments have temporarily declined. The key output being the planning element – if you can adapt to the new normal and update your plan with a set of conservative assumptions this can bring both peace of mind (everything is going to be ok) and a set of actions (what gets measured get managed). It is often the case that a few small tweaks and changes can add up to significant long term improvements and better outcomes down the line – things might not be as bleak as the media might lead us to believe.
I will end with some positivity. There is a great article written by Julio Vincent Gambuto (link below). In it he talks about how this reset/ pause has given us an opportunity to revisit our priorities. How many of us have had the conversations in recent weeks along the lines of how much we need to spend on a monthly basis, how all the activities the kids do might not be optimal, how many of us are driven by the wrong motivation (more). This reset gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves some important questions – we shouldn’t waste this 1 in 100 years opportunity.