As we celebrate our 10th anniversary at Claris, we look back and think – if we can get through that 10 years, we can get through anything!
Yes, we were bold enough to hang out our shingle in 2009, at one of the most tumultuous times in our country’s economic history. The stock market was plummeting. Real estate, IRAs, companies across America – everyone was affected, with people losing jobs, their savings and their confidence in the financial world.
As the dust cleared, we picked ourselves up by the collective bootstraps and dug our way out of the mire. But what did we all learn from the Great Recession? How has it changed us? And how has the world of investing changed since then? Here are a few of my observations.
Clients want to know more. (And they should.)
Let’s face it – a lot of people got burned in the recession. And quite a few of them vowed that they wouldn’t let that happen again. So yes, they’re opening their statements and looking at them carefully. They’re asking a lot more questions. They’re demanding transparency, and they need somebody to help them understand everything their money is doing. Personally, I’m thrilled about that. This industry has operated in the dark for way too long.
The financial advisor has become a lot more than a money manager.
I started in this business as a stockbroker. But today, financial advisors have to be about so much more than that. Clients aren’t just asking, “Should I invest in Coke, or Pepsi?” They want to know if they should retire at 63 or 71. We’re helping them figure out a plan for getting three kids through college, setting up a legacy for their grandkids and making sure they’re covered if they live to be 100. Should I buy a new car or used? Should I sell my house and downsize? Do I really need a living will? These are the aspects of life we’re a part of now, so we really have to know our clients on a personal level.
Big data has made us better at what we do.
Since 2009, the amount and quality of data out there has grown phenomenally. Today, we can dissect and analyze information like never before – and interpreting it all is a true art. Data is helping the investor become more savvy and better prepared. And it’s giving advisors deeper strengths in measuring risk and planning for their clients’ futures. Advisors who harness data and embrace new technologies are setting themselves apart, with answers based on solid information. And it’s just going to keep getting better, as more and more data is gathered.
So – what about the next 10 years?
I see the financial advisor becoming even more deeply entrenched in the lives of their clients. I see us getting involved in decisions about financing healthcare and trying to protect it, as well as long term care. We’ll have better and more precise data to help our clients. And as for investments, I believe we’ve just seen the beginning of the world of blockchain technology. I think it’s going to change the way companies are funded, and I think it’s going to change the stock market dramatically. So now, more than ever, it’s vital for financial advisors and their clients to pay attention to what’s new. It’s definitely going to affect what’s to come.