Chapter 11 attorneys won’t be the only beneficiaries. Divorce lawyers in Wuhan, China, did very well after the quarantine was lifted, PGIM’s Sheets says. From a technical standpoint, this recession may be over, as it appears the economy bottomed in mid-April. But it’s hard to see the road back.

Most of the employment damage since March has occurred in vulnerable low-wage sectors. Inequality, as shown by both the virus and the preponderance of layoffs, has been exacerbated. However, some observers like DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach expect that as big companies start the long climb back they are going to evaluate whether white-collar workers earning over $100,000 are pulling their weight.

Companies inevitably will re-evaluate their workforces as a new abnormal takes hold. Delta Air Lines recently offered early retirement packages to all its employees. If moves like these gain momentum, a wave of white-collar layoffs could further slow the recovery—and affect many advisors’ businesses.

But there could be a counteracting trend if the plentiful supply of global labor quickly becomes a shortage, according to Karen Harris, managing director of Bain & Co.’s global macro trends group. The labor force is “dramatically shrinking in China and Germany,” she said at John Mauldin’s Strategic Investment Conference in May. In America, the baby boom generation will move into retirement “en masse” in the next decade.

Where To Live
One offshoot of the pandemic is that more people are reconsidering where they want to live. Going into the office every day is no longer viewed as a necessity. So-called Tier 1 mega-cities like New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles are losing some of their luster, Harris observed. Indeed, the appeal of paying a premium to live in these cities disappears when the superior restaurants, entertainment, museums and other cultural activities go away and someone is confined to a relatively small apartment.

All this comes at a time when many baby boomers are becoming empty nesters and already considering downsizing. With interest rates near historic lows, many clients also are asking advisors about second homes.

Many advisors consider multiple dwellings a recipe for trouble. In his book Retirement Fail, Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney co-CEO Greg Sullivan cites second homes as one of the three primary reasons clients fail at retirement. The other two culprits are grey divorce, which has doubled since 2000, and adult children living at home, whom clients are supporting perhaps permanently. Sullivan has noted that all too often second homes are located on waterfront property, areas subjected to regular climate catastrophes that can cause extreme damage.

Brightworth’s Brown shares his view, noting that a second home takes a client’s biggest single expense and multiplies it times two. All too often, it turns out that a few family members can’t make it to those long-anticipated family reunions.

Then there’s the timing of the purchase, often in a bull market when clients are flush. “Many people [end up] feeling guilty about not using it and selling it at a lower price,” Brown says.

Brown and Sullivan aren’t alone. Both Ross Levin of Accredited Investors and Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial think second homes could take a serious hit in the post-pandemic world.

But it’s the client’s money and the client’s choice. In recent months, Brown has been talking with a number of clients in the congested Atlanta suburbs eyeing a second home in North Carolina’s scenic Smoky Mountains. Other advisors are hearing clients contemplate total relocation.