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New Year’s Resolutions for Clients in 2020

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New Year’s Resolutions for Clients in 2020

Investors will likely look back on 2019, thinking it was a pretty good year.  They know the good times can’t last forever, but it’s been a good time for a pretty long time.  Many people make New Year’s resolutions.  What might you suggest to your client?

New Year’s Resolutions for Clients

People get reflective in January.  They are also open to making changes.  Here are a few to consider:

1. Determine how involved you want to be. You have an advisory relationship with your client.  You’ve likely kept in touch throughout the year.  You’ve kept them grounded.  You’ve held their hand.  Hopefully this has developed trust.  How much of their activity is self-directed and how much is in managed money?  If they are happy with their money managers and your periodic reviews, will they entrust their managers with more money and be less self-directed?

2. How are their other accounts doing?  This isn’t a “winner take all” horse race.  Service and attention are important issues.  Are they being treated as an important client at their other firms?  You are giving them attention.  Has anything changed at those other firms?  Has their advisor retired?  Was the account reassigned?  Suggest the benefits of consolidating assets.

3. Take a hard look at credit card debt. Find a gentle way of asking: “How much do you owe?”  The stock market did well in 2019.  According to creditcards.com, as of December 11th, the average credit card interest rate was 17.27%. (1)  They might consider paying off that debt, especially if they are getting a bonus check in January.

4. Should I set a new retirement number? Many clients are saving for retirement.  That’s their goal, their “number.”  Things have been going well for stock market investors.  It’s tempting to say: “I’m ahead of schedule, I don’t need to save as much.”  How about taking a different approach: “If I saved even more, could I retire earlier than I planned?”  That’s an idea likely to get lots of interest.

5. Decide if I am I comfortable with my risk level. It’s tempting to be an aggressive investor when the stock market is rising.  Advisors often suggest clients take less risk as they get older, because they don’t have the timeline to replace lost money.  Should your client gradually become more conservative, moving money out of equities and into bonds and cash?  No one wants to take money off the table in a rising market, but if times change, they will realize paper profits can vanish overnight.  Bonds still have risk, but a portfolio with some balance makes sense.

When things are going well, clients are often more open to advice.  Help them set some financial resolutions for the New Year.

(1)   https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/rate-report.php

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