If there has ever been a time that advisors have had to work extra hard to not only communicate with their clients regularly, but also make sure their clients don’t do anything drastic out of fear, the ongoing pandemic is exactly that time.
Miye Wire, president of Reston, Virginia-based advisory firm MiyeWire, shared the cases of three clients among the 250 or so families she has as clients.
They became so worried about the toll the COVID-19 pandemic had taken on them personally and the overall economy that she had to convince them not to take drastic steps that would hurt them for years to come.
The first two were a husband and wife in their early 30s who became clients late last year, recalled Wire, who has been registered with Woodbury Financial Services (now part of Advisor Group) for 20-plus years.
Profile of the Client Couple
She identified them as high earners — not rich yet but on their way, the wife an executive at a well-known hotel company and the husband working in software sales for a big technology company.
“They just had a really, really big year. The husband had made a lot of money and they were sitting on a bunch of cash, and then they were expecting their first child in February,” Wire recalled.
They started thinking about college and retirement planning in 2019 and a member of the husband’s family was already a client of Wire’s firm for many years.
He referred the couple to the firm, whose clients are mostly 35 to 55 years old living in the D.C. area who are high earners and tax sensitive, she said.
After becoming clients, the couple invested all their cash “right around the beginning of January” in a moderately aggressive portfolio that was based in part on the expectation that the husband would be getting a “big bonus/commission check” in early March, she recalled.
“And then, of course, COVID comes along, the market crashes, their baby is born at the end of February and then the wife of course, working for a hospitality company, gets furloughed,” Wire said.
And then, on top of that, the husband’s company, “which is doing fantastically in this environment, basically says, ‘We’re going to hold or freeze all of your bonus and commission checks,’” she said.
The couple didn’t expect to need the money they had invested — it was for retirement and the child’s college education.
However, now, Wire pointed out: “The wife’s basically out of a job. They cut her to 20% of her pay indefinitely,” and the couple realized they were “100% responsible for the life of this other being.”
There were plenty of reasons behind the couple’s sudden fear, she said.