Advisers and clients must focus on the future

Simon Read

Simon Read

There are a lot of worried people around at the moment.

While their first concern may be about their health, money worries are not far behind, which is understandable.

People are worried about their jobs and their businesses and with so much uncertainty ahead, no one can be terribly confident about making a decent crust in the future.

But that does not mean people are not planning for the future.

They certainly still are, which means they are relying on trusted advisers to be on hand to help steer them through the confusing days ahead.

It is difficult to make any serious predictions at the moment.

But one thing that is clear is that we are developing new words and phrases to guide us through these times.

‘Social-distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ trip readily from the lips of everyone.

‘Key worker’ is another one that has been bandied around a lot, particularly as there has been much debate over what actually constitutes a key worker.

Do you agree that a journalist is a key worker, for instance?

The government obviously believes so as the profession was part of the official list it published. Financial adviser was not.

I do believe that journalists are key at such crisis times, if only to ensure that official decisions are questioned and questionable practices are highlighted.

I have noticed a massive increase in so-called fake news being spread around on social media, which is annoying at the best of times, but seriously dangerous when the information causes people to make wrong decisions that can hit their health.

The flow seems to have slowed, which suggests that people are finally learning the lesson that simply forwarding stuff without checking its veracity can be dangerous.

I hope that everyone takes that lesson on board when passing on financial information, which can obviously be equally as harmful.

Even during the crisis there have been many misleading claims shared about what people can trouser from the government’s handouts, for instance, or suggestions that payment holidays mean they can walk away from debt.

Keeping on top of all these dodgy rumours is important. It is a task that financial advisers should be involved with too. You may not be regarded as key workers, but your advice is essential at the moment.

Helping your clients keep their focus on the long term and avoid making costly short-term decisions is just part of it.

There is also the chance to increase everyone’s financial knowledge.

We have seemed to be lurching from one naming and shaming story to another in recent times, especially when it comes to cash.

If it is not government ministers having a pop at Premier League footballers for earning too much, it is big companies being criticised for handing cash to shareholders while drawing on government money.