Uncertainty surrounding the international coronavirus outbreak has created stock market volatility and obvious public health concerns that have many American feeling anxious. At times like this, having a sound financial plan and working with a qualified insurance and financial professional can reassure consumers and provide them with a solid financial footing.
Anyone who has worked with a professional to create long-term financial security should have a plan in place that accounts for ups and downs in the market. The guidance of qualified agents and advisors can prevent undue concern among investors.
“Working with a financial advisor can help calm the storm for investors and encourage them not to panic,” said Bob Quinlan, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, of Winona, Minn., and a NAIFA member since 1990. “Most people are invested for the long term, so this is just a bump in the road that was well overdue. We have been preparing them for a pullback, as the market cannot just keep going up.”
NAIFA Past Trustee Bryon Holz, CLU, ChFC, LACP, of Brandon, Fla., agrees.
“Protecting clients’ incomes is job number one, and though implementing the strategies may be somewhat simple, our most important task at times like these is to help them feel protected,” he said. “They need to feel reassured. We advise against short term reactions in their long-term planning.”
Yet, it is easy for someone preparing for retirement or long-term financial security to lose sight of their goals when faced with unexpected events. An agent or advisor can keep clients focused on the larger picture and discourage them from derailing their long-term success based on unsettling headlines.
“Many investors who try to do it on their own take action based on emotion,” Holz says. “Studies show that their portfolios underperform those of investors who work with advisors. Why? It’s not what they invest in, but how they invest. It’s their behavior. Our job is to bridge emotion with logic.”
People are also concerned about the possibility of getting sick, and potentially incurring medical costs and losing pay. Again, financial professionals have dedicated their careers to helping individuals, families, and small businesses prepare for unexpected events.
“Our main concern is helping our clients manage risk – living too long, dying too soon, or becoming too sick or hurt to work,” Holz said. “We’re not out to time the markets. That means building their portfolios in a way to handle the type of market volatility we’ve been experiencing recently. This strategy typically includes shorter-term, lower-risk liquid assets in addition to longer-term, income-producing assets, all according to their risk tolerance and investment objectives.”
While the spread of the coronavirus is potentially a serious public health matter, its financial impact on people who have worked with financial professionals to prepare for unexpected events and keep long-term goals in mind should be minimized.
“We have been in a bull market for 11 years and it was time for a pullback,” Quinlan said. “Coronavirus just prompted it this time. If it wasn’t coronavirus, it would have been something else. It’s not time to panic because this is just a short-term thing, hopefully.”