We recently passed one of the nation’s most contentious midterm elections. It’s likely that many advisors have clients obsessed with politics, people who share a never-ending barrage of emails, social media posts and memes filled with hyper-partisan opinions.

As the election heated up, advisors Michael Kitces and Carl Richards discussed ways their colleagues could deal with such clients, especially those who become draining and start to make political decisions that interfere with their financial planning—because some clients believe that their political narrative affects their money and plans.

The two advisors discussed the problem on a podcast, “Handling Politically Charged Clients Who Make It Uncomfortable To Be Their Advisor.”

Kitces, the head of planning strategy at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and blogger at “Nerd’s Eye View,” said he had also been pestered by hyper-partisan clients and heard from other advisors facing the same trouble. So had Richards, a wealth manager, New York Times columnist, and communications expert. In a Twitter exchange with Kitces, an advisor asked, “When is it officially appropriate for me to send out a mass email to clients that just says, ‘Stop with your political lunatic fringe? It’s affecting my time dealing with this. It’s affecting my mental health.’”

Is It Damaging Your Mental Health?
While some advisors are unflappable and the political jousting just rolls off their backs, others have a harder time, Kitces said.

“It grinds on us. It grates on us. It’s frustrating. It can get exhausting. We do that long enough in today’s political environment, it becomes damaging to mental health,” Kitces said.

Richards said it is not as easy as it once was to try to stay apolitical because “sometimes the client just won’t let it go,” even if they did in the past. How does an advisor deal with it if a client keeps bringing up politically polarizing issues at the same time they are discussing ways to fund their goals?

When it gets to the point where clients want to change their portfolios over it, “you’ve got a decision to make there,” Kitces added.

“To me, there’s at least two or three different scenarios [you can pursue],” he said. “So, there’s one that’s just, ‘I need this client to dial it down.’ There’s a second version that’s probably, ‘This relationship just needs to end. And how do I say that without becoming a pariah?’ And then there’s [a] sort of Twitter advisor’s strategy that says, ‘Can I just send this email out to all my clients and tell them to tone it down?’”

If your client’s political obsessions are draining you and possibly affecting their financial judgment—and especially if their politics talk is escalating, Kitces asked Richards: “How do you tone them down in the moment?”

“We’re probably still going to get to the point where you have to fire the client,” Richards said. However, he added that there is diplomatic, defusing language that can be used with clients. “I think it’s pretty simple to say, ‘Look, it sounds really important to you. Is this something that we can set aside to get the work done that we need to get done? Because if it is, that would be my preference.’ … That’s how I would start.”

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