TEXAS – Like most Americans, financial advisor Paul Smith is now working from home, but that doesn’t mean he’s not busy – in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“I mean we’re getting calls from everybody,” said Smith.
Some of Smith’s clients, like many Americans, are concerned with the world’s financial markets, which have bounced around over the last few weeks over government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is the most important time to really try to be communicating with clients because they just want to know— I think everybody just wants to know— you're here if they have questions - can you be there to answer,” said Smith.
Smith has been reaching out via email, making phone calls and even video conferencing clients to help reassure those who aren’t expecting to retire in the immediate future that everything will eventually be okay.
"We haven't lost money until we actually liquidate some of the positions we're in,” said Smith. “It's important to frame that up for people and say, “Look, the account values are down and if we can have enough time to allow those things to rebound then you haven't lost the actual shares.’"
While the roller coaster on Wall Street might not be a problem for most people in the long-run, Smith said for those already living in retirement relying on investments, the situation may be more immediate.
"The retirees are probably the folks that are right to start to evaluate again that cash position, to be able to make decisions on how long can this last without me having to make any big alterations,” said Smith.
It’s recommended retirees have several months worth of capital on hand. For retirees and people who now find themselves without a job due to the coronavirus-linked downturn of the economy, Smith said if faced with the need for money now, it’s important to take it one step at a time.
"If you have to make some of these decisions to get to some things that might have penalties with them is to maybe just get what you need for now, and really need,” said Smith. “If you need to buy groceries or pay rent or something, let's try to take this a little bit at a time rather than trying to say, ‘Okay, I'm going to 12 months worth,’ and then overdoing it."
Smith said while having a larger amount of cash on hand now might make some people feel more comfortable, Smith said it’s just not a great idea.
"I would just again caution anybody to go out there and really just go all in on a decision to completely liquidate any kind of portfolio or position because that can be much more harmful longterm to them,” said Smith.
Before making any big decisions regarding changes to your portfolio, Smith suggests reaching out to your financial advisor or getting in touch with someone that does have one. Smith said even he consults with colleagues before making changes to his financial portfolio.