The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
Is COVID-19 changing how investors plan?

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

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      By David GordonDirector, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      In the face of pandemic-driven economic challenges, existing and prospective clients may be reevaluating their wealth accumulation and transfer plans. Changes may be driven by:

      • Employment uncertainty. Wealth accumulation plans and retirement dates may be called into question if prolonged unemployment necessitates an increase in the standard cash balance for emergencies.
      • Market fluctuations. Stock price volatility and earnings uncertainty may encourage investors to "go to cash" prematurely.
      • Declining interest rates. Low bond yields may drive some income-seeking investors toward riskier assets.
      • Changing space needs. Plans to move — from city to suburb, apartment to house, large space to small space — might be accelerated, reversed or delayed.

      Financial plans done before the pandemic need to be evaluated to ensure asset allocations and investment policies are still representative the new realities of clients and prospective clients. Consider these questions as conversation starters:

      • Given changes to your income and spending, do you feel financially prepared for the next six to 12 months?
      • Are you providing more financial support to (or receiving more financial support from) family members than you were before the pandemic?
      • Do you expect your employment situation to change over the next 12 months? How about the next 24 months?
      • Has equity market volatility or declining interest rates caused you to consider reallocating among asset classes? How?
      • Have you changed the way you view leisure time and vacation because of COVID-19? Will those changes last?
      • Have your investment goals, retirement expectations or education assumptions changed?
      • Do you anticipate any changes to your living arrangements in the next 12 months?

      Bottom line: You cannot predict the future, but you can provide accurate information to help clients adjust their plans, address their current concerns and prepare for a different tomorrow.