FA Center: Panic is not an investment strategy. How financial advisers can help you think through the unthinkable.

by | Nov 5, 2022 | Stock Market

Financial planners spend much of their time preparing clients for an uncertain future. They cite worst-case scenarios and pepper clients with anxiety-inducing hypothetical questions. (For instance: What if you die tomorrow? What if your portfolio sinks 50%? What if someone in your family has a serious health crisis?) So how do advisers help clients prepare for the worst and be optimistic? It’s helpful to transform anxiety into action, which gives clients a sense of control over what’s to come. Devising an action plan makes people feel as if they’re ready for anything, even calamities.

“I want to take away the fear,” says Scott Bishop, a Houston-based certified financial planner. “If people are worried, they don’t listen. It’s like when a doctor says, ‘You have cancer.’ You don’t hear anything else.” Bishop has found an effective way to reduce client anxiety: He creates what he calls “survival guides” to help people brace for threats to their financial security. Through podcasts and articles, Bishop educates clients on how to be proactive in the face of recession or layoffs and other challenges. He urges them to research their options, ask smart questions and take practical steps to anticipate and address pot …

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