A friend called me the other day to ask a question that I know many share and that many financial advisors are hearing, especially from those who are currently in retirement. Here’s how the conversation went, along with a few notes specifically for financial advisors to help in the similar conversations you’re having with your clients:
Q: “Tim, my portfolio has done well enough in just the first quarter of the year that we’ve more than covered the income we need from our investments for the whole year. Should we just cash out and take our investment gains off the table?”
A: First, I understand how you feel. We’ve had so many years where gains were hard to come by and a few in which it felt like the bottom was going to fall out. It’s stressful, even in the best of times, so the temptation to take your winnings off of the table in a year where your income goals have already been met feels not only rational, but right.
And yes, you certainly could do exactly that.
Financial advisor note: Our clients are the hero of their story, we are only a guide. They are the boss, and we are the hired help. So in any circumstance, the client must feel free to exercise whatever instinct occurs, because they are literally in control. Furthermore, we take an important step in any form of coaching by reminding the coachee of their autonomy. A client might be inclined to expect their advisor to put up a fight when they suggest they’re considering cashing out of their portfolio—and they’re probably right to anticipate as much—but recognizing the very freedom they already possess often frees them to make the decision we’d prefer.