There are practical ways advisors can go beyond the numbers and pivot toward the work of wellness. I am a fee-based RIA that sits knee-to-knee with my clients, and these are very real things I am already doing.

Going forward, when you talk with a client or they start coming back into your office and the topic of retirement comes up, you can start the new bridge conversation this way:

“Before we get to the topic of money, can I ask a couple of questions about how you handled the recent coronavirus situation?”

“How did you feel and react?”

“ Were you gripped by the news reports and social media?”

“Did you feel motivated or flat?”

“ Did you pick up on that ‘Honey do’ list and start tackling projects?”

“Did you start walking every day?”

“ Did you eat less or more—adding the pounds now called the ‘Corona 15’ or the ‘Quarantine 15’?”

“Who did you call and talk with?”

“Who called you?”

Now obviously, not everyone is working at home or following a shelter order, but because it has been so prevalent, for these situations, the questions can be finessed: “What did you notice other people doing?” “Were they gripped by news reports?”

By way of explanation, you can say, “We ask these questions because of what we know about retirement.” And what we know is that people will face situations in retirement similar to the ones they face right now: boredom, the loss of social interaction from work and an abundance of time with spouse and family.

And you can tell them: “This is why we feel a truly successful transition from work life to home life requires a written plan that addresses the mental, social, physical, spiritual and financial aspects.”

The important piece here is that if you help someone address a personal need or issue, you provide more value to that client than you ever could with simple financial advice. Many clients don’t remember how much money you have made them in the last few years. But they always remember and are grateful when you’ve helped them make personal changes and improvements. When they know you, like you and trust you, it’s because you have the right mindset, training, resources and tools.

If nothing else, the coronavirus has helped us realize what is truly important. Family matters, health matters, friends and co-workers are important. So are generosity, kindness and patience. The list could go on.

The truth is, during a time like this traditional retirement and financial planning can fall to the bottom of the list as people grapple with other issues and challenges. But that doesn’t have to be the case if we change the narrative and begin to talk about retirement wellness—and if we use it to play the rebound ahead.

Robert Laura is a best-selling author, nationally syndicated columnist, and president of Wealth & Wellness Group. He is a seasoned conference speaker, corporate trainer and pioneer in “The New Era Of Retirement,” which focuses on the non-financial aspects of life after work. He can be reached at [email protected]

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