If financial advisors have ever needed evidence of their worth to clients, this exchange between two readers of a MarketWatch article on how retirees can weather the current market volatility should be it.

READER A: I used to balk at my FA for holding so much cash in my portfolio. I thought it was better used to buy more stock. A good FA is invaluable! I can now ride out this time until it hopefully gets better in a while. What a time I picked to retire—10/21!

READER B: Ride it out... Yeah, right. All the way to the poor house.

Reader A seems to be like a lot of financial planners’ clients, where that swath of cash sitting on the sidelines as he reached retirement last year might represent two to three years of expenses. That’s exactly the kind of planning that would allow his other, invested assets time to rebound from the various market lows recently seen, advisors said.

And if Reader B doesn’t have that cushion, his or her pessimism is understandable.

“If they don’t have the solid plan that takes everything into account, they’re a lot more fearful than they need to be. Inflation, war, market corrections—that’s all very normal. At all client levels you have to have a plan that assumes all these things,” said Jim Pratt-Heaney, a founding partner of Coastal Bridge Advisors in Westport, Conn. “If your clients are freaking out, then whatever plan you have is not a good one, because the sleep-at-night factor should be a part of that plan.”

Christopher Conigliaro, a CFP and president of Seasons of Advice Wealth Management, New York, agreed. “The ones that have recently retired have been our clients for 15 or 20 years,” he said. “We’ve gone through this before and things have steadied, reversed themselves and gone back up. So they’re conditioned to it.”

It’s for these reasons, some advisors report, that they haven’t been receiving any calls from clients second-guessing their retirement plans, even if concerns over not having enough in retirement—or of starting out well but then simply outliving one’s assets—are a common refrain in retirement planning in general.

“I’m calling them to check in, and everyone is grateful for that,” said Heidi Huiskamp-Collins, founder of Huiskamp Collins Investments in Bettendorf, Iowa. She said she does a lot of financial education during her onboarding process so that her clients know how markets work. “But they’re not panicking. If anything, they’re asking me what we should be buying. And that feels really good. It means they heard me. They were listening,” she said.

Holistic financial planners said they are receiving calls, however, from people who are not their clients and who are, in fact, panicking.

“They’ve been to someone who’s maybe managing money but not managing wealth,” Pratt-Heaney differentiated. “That advisor was saying, ‘We like tech, we don’t like international, bonds stink,’ and the like. They were spending all of their time on the investment side, and that’s actually the last thing we look at.”

And then there are the new clients who have never used an advisor before and perhaps misinterpreted the gains of the last decade as skill.

“We’ve been in la-la land for a while, so the only thing they know is they spend money on the market and it comes back,” he continued. “Some of them have never rebalanced, so if they’ve had tech stocks and let them turn, where they should have been at 20% growth, they’re at 40%.”

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