Nobody wants to hear bad news. Yet bad news sells. Why is that? Why are people so focused on what's wrong in the world? The answer is that people are concerned with anything that threatens their sense of well-being. The Pew Research Center published a report saying Americans focus especially on news concerning money and disasters, both man made and natural. The media obligingly respond with a stream of stories about rising gasoline prices, falling real estate prices, terrorism and tsunamis. Let us not forget that the media's goal is to make a profit.
I assure you that current events are short-term white noise and should not influence our long-term thinking. It does us no good to focus on things which change every day. It's better to focus on things which never change.
No matter who wins America's Presidential election in November, no matter what happens in Europe and no matter who occupies what park, your clients have to reach their goals. That's not going to change. The markets change every day. The reasons your clients invested do not change. You've got to focus on your client's goals and make sure they do the same. Educating children and investing for retirement are not part-time endeavors, to be pursued only when we feel good about things. In 180 months, a 3-year old will be in college. A 45 year old who gets paid once a month and wants to retire at age 65 has only 240 paychecks left in his or her life. No one is so powerful that he can stop the march of time.
Another thing that never changes is that you've got to run a profitable business, regardless of current events. You'll go broke waiting for good news. You'll never be out of business as long as you can get and keep clients; and you'll be able to get and keep clients, no matter the short-term white noise, as long as you make their goals your number one priority.
It's tough enough in normal times to keep clients focused. It's especially tough in an election year. Your clients are going to hear very little good news for the next several months.
Your clients are paying you for your advice. This is where you earn your money. Advise them to keep their eyes on the horizon. As doubt creeps in, it's up to you to be the beacon of anti-stress. It's only natural that the more uncertain the times, the more certainty clients will demand from you. In turbulence, every airline passenger looks at the flight attendant for his or her reaction. As your clients look at you for your reaction, I urge you to be optimistic. Be passionate about the decisions you have made for them. Be enthusiastic about their chances.
Clients simply want to be on stable ground. They want to hear from you that their goals are achievable. They want to be assured they are doing the right thing.
We're not the media. Ours is a totally different business model. Our business is not a one hundred yard dash. Our business is a marathon. I know you know that. Your clients sometimes forget. Keep reminding them.
Remind them that politics and investing are polar opposites. In politics, the short-term is crystal clear and the long-term is murky. In investing, it's the short term that's murky. The long term is crystal clear.