We’re thankfully off for the next two days so I wanted to send you to your turkey dinners early with some words of thanks to you and for you. Here are a few silver linings and just plain gold realities that we can be thankful for this holiday season.
Jobs: The glass is more than half full when it comes to the job market. While a stubborn 10% of people still don’t have jobs, you have to remember that a vastly greater number do. And while they may be more frugal in their saving and spending habits, they are still going to generate consumer demand. Among those demands may well be a greater need for financial advice.
In addition there are regions of the country where employment isn’t as bad—places as diverse as the Dakotas and New York City.
There are possibilities for people to move to areas of greater employment potential. Again, remember that employment always lags a recession. It is the last thing to come back.
The Financial Crisis: While none of us is in a hurry to repeat anything like those dark days of late 2008 and early 2009, the silver lining is that during bull markets like the one that preceded this crash and the one in the 1990s, everyone thinks they can manage their own finances. The bad economy has put a premium on your ability to advise clients, especially if you are a) managing their expectations about bear markets and b) working with them to meet their goals regardless of what the market does.
The economy: We came perilously close to disaster for a while there, but the stimulus seems to have done a decent job of stabilizing what could otherwise have been a much worse recession. The stock market appears to be turning around, and people are getting back into it at what appears to be a very good time to do so. That can’t help but be good for your business, both in advising clients and increasing investments.
Life insurance: Most of your customers need it. Bank investment programs that have diversified into life insurance have generally seen life insurance compensate for flagging fixed annuity sales.
Fee Business: Ok, so a down market will affect your revenues as clients’ wealth takes a dive. But most people who have made the switch from commissions to fees, if even for just a portion of their business, are happy they did so. It’s a way to be able to plan ahead, as you advise your clients to do. And it’s reassuring in that you aren’t always starting from zero for each month’s production.
Not only do fees “put you on the same side of the table” as the client, but they tend to encourage a deeper relationship with clients in other ways. When you are not so busy selling product, you can take the time to talk with clients about what they want their money to do and how to do it in a more holistic way. Getting to know your clients better and having meaningful conversations with them is what will win their loyalty and appreciation.
Bank Advisors: Finally I want to thank you for working as hard as you do and caring about your clients as much as you do. I know it’s not easy and the last few years have been a battle to survive. But you made it through and now you’re hopefully positioned to thrive. You should give thanks to your clients and yourselves for doing so.