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By David GordonDirector, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

Advisors of my vintage (baby boomers) may remember learning early in their careers to avoid topics like religion and politics in client conversations. However, new research from Hartford Funds suggests younger investors want advisors whose political views align with theirs.1

When a client reveals his or her political preferences, what is a cautious advisor to do? The most judo-like first response is to say, "Tell me more." When the client shares his or her view, seize the opportunity to ask some thought-provoking questions — and listen to the answers.

What do you expect the implications to be on your investment strategy if:

  • The election (any election, not just the 2020 election) goes the way you hope?
  • The election does not go the way you hope?
  • The election has a mixed result?
  • The election results remain unknown period of time after Election Day?

These questions encourage clients to consider multiple possible outcomes, not just their political preference — all without revealing your own. Don't take the bait if a client asks, "What do you think?" Rather, discuss the investment risks and opportunities you see in each of these four outcomes.

Bottom line: Although politics may still be taboo to discuss, if a client brings up his or her political preference, use this information to help them understand the potential implications to their investment portfolios and financial planning.