Being the Change

Being the Change

We just came across a Journal of Financial Planning article written by Bonnie Hughes and it contained extended quotes from Elissa and Dave in response to the question: What do you think is the right thing to be doing for your practice and your clients?

Elissa Buie had this to say. “I believe the right thing to be doing for our business and our clients at this time, is sticking to the empirically supported best practices in our profession. This is not the easy thing to do, as the easiest thing to do would be to go with our (and our clients’) emotions and run for the hills. But we have science supporting the decisions and recommendations we have made in the past and that underlie our clients’ financial planning and investment decisions. The fact that we are in an outlier situation does not mean that things have changed or that science is somehow no longer supported or useable. The right thing to do is to stand firmly grounded in our best practices and do the best we can to help our clients understand and be able to continue to have faith in those best practices.”

Dave Yeske shared this: “From the standpoint of serving clients, we need to remain steadfast in keeping our clients committed to their financial and investment plans. From the standpoint of business survival, we need to take the initiative and share with clients and prospective clients our belief in the evidence-based best practices we follow. We should tell them that now is the best time to hire a planner, now is always the best time to develop and execute a financial plan, and that now is an excellent time to commit long-term money to the financial markets. Don’t apologize; don’t cringe before fearful clients and know-nothing prognosticators; instead, speak your truth loudly and with conviction. The fearful and confused will be drawn to your certainty and your clients will be comforted by it.”

What is perhaps most notable about the foregoing declarations is that they were made in March of 2009 at the absolute bottom of the stock market’s terrifying fall following the bursting of the real estate bubble. The Dow had just hit 6,600 and the news was filled with dark predictions of worse to come.  Of course, as we write this the Dow is trading above 14,000, a rise of over 110% in less than four years. Yet more proof that we do well to adopt and embrace grounded financial planning policies, which help us know what to do when it’s hard to know what to do.

FPA Journal May 2009 – Being the Change