Jeff Levine, CPA/CFP, is the “lead financial planning nerd” at Kitces.com and director of Advanced Planning for Buckingham Wealth Partners. He’s recently become a “go to” source on IRS updates and small-business relief loans.
“Control the controllables.” Anytime there is a crisis, whether it be financial, in nature, medical or otherwise, it’s easy to throw one’s hands up in frustration and “shut down,” because the perceived ability to control one’s own destiny has been reduced.
But it’s important to remember that while we can’t always control outcomes, we can almost always influence them.
Doing things like tax-loss harvesting, re-balancing, opportunistic Roth conversions, etc., are not going to ensure an individual reaches their goals, but they continue to positively influence the likelihood of doing so, even in these challenging times.
Also advisors should consider using the work-from-home opportunity to allow their clients to have greater visibility into their own lives.
Clients are often very interested in their advisors’ lives, their children, their personal interests. It’s only natural, as good advisors generally spend substantial amounts of time trying to learn these things about their clients.
So, on the next video chat, take a moment to let your kids say “Hi,” or to show them the trophy you won as a high-school swimmer or the painting your spouse made last week.
The further apart we are in physical distance, the more important it is to do everything possible to bring ourselves closer emotionally.
Professionally, it’s been keeping up with the volume of mission-critical information that is being produced at an unprecedented pace. It’s not hyperbole to say that for the past month, the rules of the “game” have literally been changing by the day!
Unfortunately, there’s no secret to “winning” this battle with information. It’s just a matter of grabbing as much original source information (e.g., legislation, regulation, government-issued FAQs, etc.), reading through it and discerning the most relevant parts for advisors and their clients as quickly as possible.
Personally, the biggest challenge has been trying to balance what has really been one of the busiest times in my professional career, with daddy responsibilities for my three boys, and being a caring and supportive husband and for my wife who, as a nurse practitioner in a hospital, continues to do the really important work.
In terms of how I’m facing that, it’s just taking it one day at a time. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t learning a lot of this on the fly.