Gary Scheer has been a financial planning expert for years and, with that, comes the experience of having seen several events impact the way in which his space operates. While one would be hard pressed to find a moment in time where as many changes were happening simultaneously as is the case with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Scheer notes that this sector has largely shown resilience amidst the crisis and has made consistent efforts to adapt wherever possible.
One of the largest changes that Gary Scheer recognizes financial planners are experiencing is the growing usage of online resources for client interaction. With the risks inherent in face to face consultation, many financial planners have taken to conducting business via video chat and over the phone more frequently than the past. This change has benefits as well as drawbacks that financial planners are currently contending with. For example, the change creates a bit of flexibility within the space and for some planners can increase their sphere of influence and network. After all, Gary Scheer notes that some individuals that were completely against financial planning in any capacity but in person have budged because of the pandemic. Still, this shift has created a landscape that financial planners need to consistently adapt to. Financial planners must get the best out of their resources to foster interpersonal connection and rapport that needs to exist to be successful. It can certainly be more difficult to have as strong a connection via online resources as it can be face to face, but planners have taken this as a challenge and continue to find new ways to add value to their interactions.
Gary Scheer acknowledges that financial planners have always had to be clear headed and contribute adaptable advice to clients, but the pandemic has emphasized the need for these qualities ten-fold. The economy is undergoing changes at an accelerated rate in some industries, and financial planners need simultaneously encourage sound financial decisions while offering caveats against knee-jerk reactions clients may suggest. Gary Scheer notes that, due to many individuals experiencing a period of fluctuating financial certainty, the need has never been larger for financial planners that give adaptable advice that contains contingencies. In times where people are looking for sound advice in the face of uncertainty, financial planners need to exude a calm confidence that keeps their clients in a clear headspace and ready to make sound financial decisions.
We have observed since the beginning of the pandemic that times such as these often make employees consider their own prospects, and this is the case with financial planners as well. Gary Scheer believes that, with work life balance shifting due to remote work capabilities, there may be a change in how planners choose to go about their careers. For example, some believe that the health crisis will push more individuals in the financial space to independent work. This is because the current situation is showing some members of large financial firms that they can produce work from anywhere and may not actually need the backing of a large infrastructure to provide a service to clients. It is Gary Scheer’s belief that this will not necessarily be the norm across the financial planning industry, but those seeking higher earning potential and less rigidity may see value in joining or creating independent registered-investment advisor firms.