Life has changed for many of us.
We’re told that COVID-19 will have an indelible impact on how we work, learn, consume, socialize, and communicate. And that we won’t recognize the outside world when we finally come out of our cocoons and that it’s too early to calculate the damage caused externally because we’re still cooped up indoors.
Well, the more interesting shifts will have occurred exactly there: indoors. That is what is leading to our financial reinvention.
How the Coronavirus may have shaken you and forced you to revisit your intrinsic values
Unless you are an essential worker and have had to brave the elements to go to work every day, you’ve likely had more idle time than you’re used to. Even if you were sent home to work, you no longer commuted to and from work. Besides, so many activities have been off-limits, so much of the ‘busy-ness’ in your life may have disappeared.
And, for some of you, it gave you pause. It gave you time to think deeply about what your pre-Corona life meant – and what you’d like your post-Coronavirus life to mean. It made you rethink what’s essential and what’s not.
What areas of your life have you revisited?
What areas are being revisited? Wealth management firms like HCR Wealth Advisors report a broad range of life-influencing topics in talking with their clients. These include:
Self-care. The coronavirus pandemic has led to health audits. If you’re younger, you may have realized that – although you feel pretty invincible to disease – COVID-19 has been a game-changer. Sure, you are less vulnerable than some others, but you may have watched someone you know succumb to a pretty nasty bout of respiratory failure, or worse.
So, what does that say about the health insurance plan you may or may not have? And what could you change in your lifestyle to be even less vulnerable to unexpected health scares?
Did fixing more home-cooked meals change your eating patterns? Did you discover fresh fruits and vegetables? Or the importance of supporting local growers? Did you hear about how your immune system depends primarily on diet and lifestyle?
If you’re older, has the knowledge that this pandemic is affecting the “elderly” given you a wake-up call? Or did you realize your medically controlled high blood pressure is considered a co-morbidity? Are your life and long-term care insurances in place? Advisory firms like HCR Wealth Advisors can help you be better prepared.
How important is self-care to you, generally? Have you ignored severe stress? Have you protected yourself – or shortchanged yourself – by not giving it sufficient importance? Looking at your life going forward, whatever your age, how has your health audit changed your plans?
Housing. Staying home has given you a chance to reflect on exactly what ‘home’ means. It may not meet your changing needs, or the needs of your family and what does that mean for you?
Does housing eat up too much of your monthly budget with little return? Does it lack the separate spaces if ‘work from home’ becomes a permanent plan? While housebound, did you wish you had some outdoor space to safely get some sunshine on your face? Would you rather be closer to your parents in case they need you?
Housing is a significant line item in your budget. You may want to talk to your financial advisor to see how a change might fit your needs better without derailing your savings and retirement plans. HCR Wealth Advisors does that for people every day.
Spending. Forced physical distancing goes against the very grain of our need to be around other people and share experiences. This is true with our loved ones, but particularly so with any little ones who may be growing up so fast.
Has being home with your core family made you aware of what you might have been missing? Is the drive to make ever more money affecting your relationships? Has it been ‘growth at any cost?’ Do your spending choices magnify your need to earn even more?
And once you were sheltered in place and not influenced by impulse purchases in stores, did you realize how much less you need in order to be happy? Have your priorities changed? Did you see how marketing can drive consumerism, and how that affects your ability to save for a rainy day, you know, like an unexpected pandemic?
Investments. So often, our investments start as automatic deductions that are invested in our 401(k)s at work without much thought. Or maybe in an IRA, where a mutual fund is selected by what year we think we might retire.
But has this pandemic increased your concern about human safety and environmental sustainability? HCR Wealth Advisors sees ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investments growing in relevance for their clients. Would you like to align your investment strategies with a broader purpose that speaks to the needs of society? Or a specific cause?
Legacy. In our fast-paced, overloaded schedules, we rarely take the time to think of some of the more profound questions. Why are you here? What is your purpose? What would you like to be remembered for? What is the legacy you’d like to leave – whether for loved ones, your community, or your world?
The next level of questioning is: Do you have the skills to achieve what you’d like? And do you have the resources?
Or have you considered shifting parts of your estate planning to reflect your heirs’ needs more closely? Educational funds for your grandchildren? What will bring you the most joy as you endow causes dear to your heart? HCR can help clients find ways to make charitable contributions smartly and directly out of IRAs.
So how do you make intentional decisions about your planning?
Whether you are going through the process of exploring your goals for the first time – or whether they have shifted as a result of the coronavirus, the focus will be on what you value. What you want out of life and what is most important to you. It should reflect your beliefs, feelings, and intentions, not what society dictates. A successful plan is about mindful choices, not reactions.
So, for a decision to be intentional, ask why your choice is of value to you. And if you encounter dissonance, which the coronavirus has caused a lot of, ask ‘why’ again.
Working with a financial planner to factor in the coronavirus experience
In simple terms, the role of certified financial planners like those at HCR Wealth Advisors is to help you make the best decisions and use your money to build and live the life you want.
The kinds of issues raised by the coronavirus experience might trigger questions like:
- How should your insurances change, and how will that affect your budget?
- How might lifestyle changes impact career decisions, and possibly affect your short- and long-term income?
- Will a change in housing free up or tie up resources earmarked for something else?
- Has the pandemic affected your job or business income dramatically? Does it require a plan adjustment, or do you have sufficient emergency funds to bridge the impact?
- Have your spending patterns changed materially? Do they free up resources for more significant savings or investments?
- Are you comfortable with the investment decisions you have made, or do they need to be revisited?
- Have your thoughts changed about how you want your ‘rest-of-life’ to look?
- How can your financial plan be changed to reflect your wishes more closely?
Planning is not a one-time process. It is iterative. That makes the relationship with an advisory firm like HCR Wealth Advisors that much more valuable, as you have a team that accompanies you at each step.
Life changes and your financial plan should change with it. Not at every whim but periodically. Periodic reviews and strategy adjustments will keep your plan closely aligned with your views of your present and your future.
Your unique investment strategy will have a stable trajectory that will carry you towards your ultimate goal. And periodic life events, such as a pandemic and the mind shifts that can result from surviving one, will fine-tune the direction as needed.
It’s much like flying an airplane from New York to Los Angeles: the flight plan is filed, but it’s still up to you to get to where you’re going.
Think of HCR Wealth Advisors playing the role of navigator. They’re along for the ride, helping you get to where you want to go.
About HCR Wealth Advisors
When we least expect it, something like a pandemic comes along and disrupts a plan we thought was relatively settled. HCR Wealth Advisors helps to prepare clients for the unexpected and maintains composure in even the most stressful situations, working to ensure their clients have a clear path to the next stage of their journey. Whatever the cause of the disruption, HCR Wealth Advisors are there to make the financial planning and investment management process as smooth and stress-free for their clients as possible.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as investment advice. HCR Wealth Advisors is not affiliated with this website.