We live in challenging times. Most of us could never have imagined that we would be in this position even a month ago. Working from home and online learning for our kids is a massive change to the way we live - let alone the restaurants/theatre/sporting events and general retail and outdoor activity that we can no longer do.
I guess it is true what they say, that you never really know what you have until you lose it. And I know most of us, myself included, are wondering, “What next? How bad will this really get?” Nobody seems to have any answers - how could they? - as we try to contain the virus before it becomes too big to slow down.
My heart breaks for people who were not prepared for how swiftly this hit. The lines outside Centrelink are a modern day version of the Great Depression, and I am sure many of our kids will be telling stories of the time when toilet paper was a valued commodity to be hunted down.
So how can any of us make a difference at a time like this? The finance community can communicate to its clients or members about the stance they are taking in the COVID19 environment, but it is left to our politicians to lead the nation. To be a voice of reason and to give calm in an environment of chaos.
Personally, I believe we as an industry have an obligation to become vocal leaders at this critical time. People want insight. They want to know the best people possible are looking after their retirement savings. They want to understand scenarios in plain language. They want authentic leadership that has knowledge and above all cares.
After spending 25 years working in this industry, I can honestly say I know thousands of highly intelligent professionals who fit that bill. And your voice should be heard at a time like this - more than ever! For financial planners, I understand your life must be chaos at this time. You must be spending a large proportion of your time talking to your clients about what's happening, as they watch their balances recede.
But as you are doing that - I challenge you to think - how can I scale this message? If you are a voice of reason on the phone or zoom to your clients, how can you have that effect on others who might not have a trusted adviser? Can you record yourself and distribute on social? How can you share your expertise, and help bring much needed calm to people who are genuinely terrified for their future.
I know you don't have all the answers. You cannot make promises that everything will be fine. But you can use your unique skill sets of communicating and understanding technical finance concepts to bring comfort to people who really need it.
Experiment at home. Get that selfie stick out and record a message. Tag me on social if you do and I will send it out there - and we will also share it with the NMPE community.
A wise friend said to me that the best thing we can all do right now is think of how to help someone else, rather than ourselves. It was the best advice I had heard all day.
Stay safe and find joy in the little things.
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