At some point when the history of Covid-19 is written, social scientists will try to quantify the damage in terms of public health and economics and the way it changed the world. The emotional toll is likely to be more difficult to calculate.

In all likelihood, however, it’s the young and the old who suffered the most severe psychological scars. Until vaccines were rolled out in early 2021, millions of children couldn’t see their favorite people in the world, their grandparents.

Young adults leaving home for college also saw their lives thrown into a tailspin. Separating the emotional and financial aspects of college education is a fruitless task, as staff writer Jennifer Lea Reed writes in this month’s cover story on page 38.

Several surveys and polls have reported that about one-third of college students aren’t attending classes or participating if they do. The same number reportedly are considering dropping out.

After paying for a home and saving for retirement, putting children through college is the biggest expense for many clients. If a college entrant isn’t emotionally ready to study, enrolling is a waste of time and money.

One increasingly popular solution is a gap year, Reed writes. Allowing a child to spend a year outside the classroom expands their perspective. For many, working in a menial job also illuminates their view of the real world and how an education can influence their quality of life.

Mature students can extract much more value from their education. President George H.W. Bush once contrasted his experience as an indifferent high school student with that of being a former Navy pilot who graduated from Yale in an accelerated two and a half-year program—as a father and an honors student.

As with many of his generation, Bush’s sabbatical was a virtuous one. But many in subsequent generations have left college after spending a year throwing beer cans out their windows only to return as mature, serious students.

For advisors, empowering clients to get in touch with their own emotional realities may be the most useful function they can perform. It will be the topic of Jean Edelman’s general session talk at our Invest In Women conference in Atlanta on June 21.

Advisors aren’t professional psychologists, but those looking to deliver value will find ways to enhance clients’ emotional well-being.

Evan Simonoff 
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