Leaders are doing what they think is right in unprecedented times: Putting their employees and their companies first. But how are they navigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when it comes to their personal finances?

E*TRADE Executive Services works directly with corporate leaders and executive stock plan participants, giving us a unique perspective into how leaders are approaching their decisions and managing their personal finances throughout the chaos.

Wait-And-See Mode
As the unemployment rate blasted post-WWII records to hit 14.7% in April, many senior leaders personally have felt the crunch. Many have husbands, wives, children or other loved ones who have been let go or furloughed. Even so, most say they feel very lucky that their families and finances are in fairly good order while so many Americans face uncertainty.

And, because of market volatility and the current need to focus on their businesses, many leaders are taking a wait-and-see approach with their personal investment planning unless they have an immediate need for cash. Also, they’ve put large purchases on the back burner. Instead, they’re focused on estate planning and making sure their families are protected.

This is not to suggest that our nation’s executives are in dire straits—far from it. But in times of crisis, each of us should make sure our financial house is in order as we tend to the needs of others.

No Time Like The Present
It’s an understandable temptation to compartmentalize and push financial planning aside in times of crisis, but that can be a costly mistake. In order to stay present and continue to lead through the storm, leaders need to make sure their own financial foundation is secure. That way, they’re positioned to be able to continue to help others at work and at home.

When time and mental energy are short, zeroing in on these three key tips can help leaders maintain their financial equilibrium:

• Don’t go it alone: These are extraordinary times, calling for extraordinary leadership—and having a great team can make all the difference. Working with a financial advisor provides strategic support, allowing leaders to save more of their time and mental resources for work while not missing opportunities to reach their financial goals. Many advisors offer a range of services beyond money management, and now might be the right time to see how else they can help.

• Don’t forget equity compensation: Many tend to think of equity compensation as something separate from their long-term financial plan, as more like a nice-to-have bonus, but when leveraged effectively it can play a central role in planning for retirement, cash management, diversifying investments, taxes, and more.

• Time for a 10b5-1 checkup? Liquidating assets on a regular basis through a 10b5-1 plan is just the beginning. Many don’t realize that 10b5-1 plans are highly customizable and can be put to work for a wide variety of financial goals, both short- and long-term. Given current volatility, changes in employment, or liquidity needs, it may be time to revisit 10b5-1 planning.

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