So, some very useful developments and help for those in financial distress. But will it go far enough and how will your clients know what to do?
This is where advisers can really help. I’ve set out a few ideas below about how advisers might want to approach this situation with their clients.
Reach out and offer assistance:
The first and most important thing is for advisers to ensure their clients feel able to come and ask for guidance and help in these situations.
With the economy being so stable for many years, it is understandable that clients who haven’t looked at their mortgage and other financial arrangements for a number of years will have difficulty in knowing what to do and where to turn.
You may not have been in touch with some of your clients for some time.
But, by reaching out and helping your clients to understand what’s on offer, what help is available from the government, and how you could assist them with their finances, you can be on hand to give support and reassurance through this time of crisis.
In the longer term you can help them to return to normality more quickly, even if that takes a number of months and maybe years.
Remind your clients that they have options:
For clients in later life, they may wish to offer their families support, whether through their personal wealth or releasing capital from their own homes.
As we know, with markets being so volatile, accessing capital from investments is unwise where the markets have fallen so low.
So releasing equity from the home may be a more stable way of securing capital to be passed on to those that need it the most.
You can help your clients look at all the options to them, depending on their circumstances and objectives – helping them to feel more in control and realising that they do have options.
Signpost debt charities and emergency help
Getting into debt is always a really difficult situation, and we don’t know how individuals will fare as the current unfolds.
While it’s clear to see that we are in unchartered territory, the typical reason for ongoing debt problems is not seeking help early enough.
Signposting your clients to debt charities and other resources can be a vital step in helping them to cope with difficult times.
I spoke to Andrew Kerry, financial solutions manager at the Stepchange Debt Charity, about the immediate steps people can take.