Joy, who’s active on Twitter and in local media, opened up about the challenges of her new work-life schedule during the coronavirus pandemic. She also shared details on how to best serve clients and take care of yourself while working from home.
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THINKADVISOR: What are your clients asking you?
MELISSA JOY: First they were asking if they’re going to be OK.
Overall, my clients have been sticking with the process. We haven’t had anybody liquidate or go to cash. It was a good start.
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Now, I’m also starting to get phone calls about layoffs from clients in hospitality and with small businesses. We’re triaging that.
How are you helping clients most in need?
I talk with them, and many are financial planning clients. They’re relatively well positioned, as I’ve encouraged everyone to have emergency reserves. We worked on that together.
But one client’s house was sold, and now she’s buying a new home. Both deals are under contract to close in May, and she’s a hotel executive with a company that [temporarily] laid off everyone.
We have to help save this home [purchase]. She really wants to live in the new home and has relative security in that she should have the same job once the hotel’s reopened. But it’s very bad timing for her and the closing.
I explained to her, “I feel so much empathy for you in these circumstances. Let’s get to work and look at the possibilities.
“Is there any possibility with the CARES [stimulus] Act that people could be called back [to work at the hotel]? How about talking though mortgage options. Could you qualify based on your assets? As a 40-something-age accumulator, would it be possible for your retirement assets to count?
“The CARES Act has provisions to take that money out without penalties to at least show you have that money.”
It’s a lot easier to be action oriented, with the CARES Act and as financial planners. We can get to work and figure out how to save that deal.
How is it working from home? Any best practices?
I’ve got a 6- and a 10-year old, who are in kindergarten and fifth grade, respectively. My husband is a computer programmer with a big setup trying to work remotely, too.
He’s doing a lot of the [school] principal duties, so I have the time to focus on helping clients, which is changing day to day.
My best practices are to have a schedule, communicate with the family about that schedule and find space of your own.