By late Wednesday afternoon, Paul Bennett, a certified financial planner and managing director of the United Capital office in Great Falls, Virginia, said his office had already fielded post-election questions in “two client meetings and two prospective client meetings.”
“At the end of the day, what I’m telling clients is ‘Don’t make knee-jerk reactions based solely on what happened last night.’ Because yeah it’s been a really polarizing divisive election. Probably the most in the last hundred years.”
Rather than panic, Bennett calls on clients to focus on the strength of the economy despite the uncertainty.
“If you set aside politics, which is not easy to do for most people, but if you do and you look at the economy it’s in a growth phase,” Bennett told ThinkAdvisor. “It’s been slower. Slowest recovery we’ve had coming out of a recession, but it is growing. And it’s encouraging across the fact that we have businesses hiring folks, employment is up. You have consumer spending, and confidence levels are not where they were but they’re certainly improving.”
However the number of concerned clients actually reaching out to their advisors immediately after the reaction may be on the slim side.
Chris White, a CFA and wealth management advisor based in Boston, said he’s been getting more calls from reporters and radio shows wanting his commentary.
“Since I’ve worked with many of these clients for decades, they understand my basic mantra, which is really focus on the long-term,” White told ThinkAdvisor. “Don’t let the short-term perturbations of the market get you upset. The companies that we invest in are good-quality companies with good managements that have been through rapid and slow evolutionary changes and they’ve exhibited an ability to navigate those treacherous waters well.”
Michael Kitces echoed a similar statement on Twitter on Tuesday.
“So far today, I’ve fielded more media inquiries about what to tell clients, than any advisor in our firm has fielded in ACTUAL client calls,” Kitces said.
White, who recently wrote the book, “Working with the Emotional Investor: Financial Psychology for Wealth Managers,” said that his best advice to clients is sometimes to turn off the radio and television.
“I can hear when they call me and they’re upset and I can hear in the background one of the financial TV shows going,” he said. “I say, ‘OK let’s first turn that off and then we can have a conversation.’ All of that is designed to make people feel anxious.”
For clients that may be feeling anxious and uncertain, White has an optimistic long-term view.
“People I think are scared. I think they don’t know what to expect,” White said. “I just have a very strong faith in our economy that over time we’ll get this right, and we’ll do fine. But I tend to look in terms of 5-, 10-, 20-year increments. Not what’s happening the next week or two. I think that’s what the market gets carried away with.”