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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Got Financial Concerns? So Do Your Clients

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Matthew DobbieSure, economic times are gloomy. But you don’t have to take the numbers sitting down.

I have worked in financial services for over 17 years and have owned my own firm since 2001. In all my years, I have never seen so many people too paralyzed to act because they don’t know what is going to happen next.

Will the economy ever recover?

Are taxes going up?

Can I trust the stock market?

I understand how they feel. I ask myself the same questions, and there are no real answers.

But you can help your clients make the most of their financial life just by opening your mind. Here are some strategies you can share today to help improve your clients’ long-term financial health in a recession and beyond.

Like any good wellness program, start with the basics:

1. Help clients determine what is really important.

Encourage family meetings where one person writes out what is important to the group. Be sure to have them include long- and short-term goals and what they may be willing to give up in order to make those goals a reality.

2. Show them how to cut back — even if it hurts a little.

Encourage small sacrifices in spending to meet goals. Help them identify where they can make small changes to cut back on nonessential expenditures. And don’t overlook the bigger-ticket items people pay for every month, such as cable TV/Internet subscriptions and car insurance. Making minor adjustments to these items can free up more dollars for a family then you might imagine.

3. Make your clients dedicated savers.

Successful savers use the concept of paying themselves first whenever they receive a paycheck. Encourage clients to check with their employer to see if they can have part of their pay automatically deposited into one or more savings accounts.

4. Let them run their own numbers.

Do your clients know if they are on track with their current disability coverage, life insurance and retirement savings plan(s)? In other words, will these important items provide them and their family with the amount of financial protection needed? Guide them to do some homework on their own by sending them to a free lifetime economic value calculator at (or another calculator of your choice), so they can see the numbers on their own.

5. Be available for the little questions — because the big ones, invariably, will come.

Answer the call, no matter how small, in a timely way. Today people are concerned more than ever. They want someone who is there for them, even if, at first, only as a backup to discuss ways they can put the above tips into action.

Feel free to write me at [email protected] for more information. I welcome your comments so thank you in advance for posting. As a registered financial professional, I cannot offer financial or securities advice over the Internet or comment on posts.

Matthew J. Dobbie is managing partner at uFinancial in Camp Hill, Pa., and is a MassMutual financial professional. He is a registered principal of and offers securities, investment advisory, and financial planning services through MML Investors Services LLC, Member SIPC, (717) 763-7365. California Insurance License 


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