Aug 14, 2020

Finding Your Financial Silver Linings in Difficult Times: How a Financial Advisor Can Help

By Kathleen Grace

COVID-19 and the resulting recession have had many households reassessing their financial situation. These challenging times have forced many to accept the reality that some things in life are often outside of our control. And we may have also come to appreciate the simple things we’ve taken for granted, such as our ability to work, freely travel, and spend time with our family and friends.

Although this period has been tough for many of us, it has provided opportunities to practice gratitude in all that we do have in our lives and redefine what is truly important to us. For instance, we can use this time to thoughtfully reassess our financial future, correcting what hasn’t worked in the past and bringing it in line with what we want our personal financial future to look like, regardless of the external circumstances we face at the moment. In other words, we can choose to find the silver linings during difficult times. Some of my own personal silver linings may resonate with you:

  • Enjoying time with immediate family
  • Learning proficiency in new technology or apps (i.e., video conferencing)
  • Practicing mindfulness

Why is it important to try and seek out the positives in our daily life? Finding your personal silver linings (both financial and non-financial) could help bring peace of mind during a period of great uncertainty.

Finding your financial peace of mind

When you feel financially secure and you are living inside of your value and belief system, it can help bring greater clarity and purpose to other parts of your life. This peace of mind may not be easy to find, especially at this critical time when you may have been financially impacted by the COVID-19.

So how can you find your financial peace of mind amidst a storm over which you have little control? It starts with getting back in the driver’s seat and taking small, manageable steps toward a better financial future. This is where a financial advisor can help you with your journey.

Wait, do I really need to hire a financial advisor to help me?

With so many financial resources and information readily available on the internet, you may be wondering if you really need to hire a professional. Many people believe they don’t have the budget to bring an advisor on board, and with plenty of “DIY” information available today online, it’s easy to think: “Well – I can do this myself!”

A financial advisor can not only help you navigate life’s key financial decisions, but they can also bring their knowledge and experience to help you identify your priorities and guide you towards your financial goals.

Why do I need a financial advisor?

I want to highlight three reasons why I believe that seeking professional advice when it comes to your financial security is a smart move.

  1. In my experience, it is nearly impossible for people to be objective when it comes to making their own financial decisions because sometimes our emotional biases can make it difficult to look at our own personal financial situation with clarity. This is why sometimes we need an outside perspective, and a professional advisor can help provide the objective accountability and “course correction” that you may need to help achieve your goals.
  2. There is no one-size-fits-all advice in financial planning. Each person has their own unique set of circumstances, and general financial advice cannot possibly take into consideration all of your unique variables. No two people are alike. Money is personal, and it requires a personalized approach. A financial advisor can help you recognize when you may need to adjust your spending; balance personal needs versus wants; and identify ways to be more mindful about your finances.
  3. Even in times of financial uncertainty, a professional advisor can help you look for that silver lining in your financial planning, which may include opportunities like: proper asset allocation, socially responsible investing, Roth IRA conversions, and cash flow management.

How do I find a financial advisor?

The integrity of the advisor and the organization should be your main focus.

  • Ask friends, family or colleagues for recommendations
  • Visit www.cfp.net or https://www.letsmakeaplan.org/ to research Certified Financial Planner® professionals in your area
  • Do a background check on your potential advisor through Investor.gov
  • Once you have a shortlist of potential candidates, here are some questions to ask:
    • What services do you provide?
    • What type of clients do you work with?
    • How often do you meet with clients? How often will we communicate?
    • How are you compensated? Fees (hourly or a percentage of assets)? Commission? Both?
    • Are you a fiduciary?

The bottom line

I believe that happiness is best achieved when we are able to focus our time and attention on what matters most to us that is within our control and most closely aligned with our values and beliefs. Working with an experienced financial advisor can not only help us to stay focused on our priorities, but it can also help us find our financial silver linings in these challenging times.

Kathleen Grace
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Grace

United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC d/b/a Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management (“GS PFM”) is a registered investment adviser and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management, and financial services organization.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered investment advice. GS PFM does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Clients should obtain their own independent legal, tax, or accounting advice based on their particular circumstances. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.

Information and opinions expressed by individuals other than GS PFM employees do not necessarily reflect the view of GS PFM. Information and opinions expressed in this article are as of the date of this material only and subject to change without notice.