Life’s Disasters Offer You a Chance to Connect with Your ClientsFires, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. These are just some of the natural disasters that can affect your clients. Just as you prepare clients for changes in financial markets and tax codes, so should you help them protect their assets — and especially themselves — in a natural disaster. Prepare for the worst When Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Eastern seaboard in late October, thousands of residents lost everything but the clothes on their backs. Their homes and possessions — a life’s worth — lost in one fell swoop. The death toll in the United States was more than 100. At about the same time Sandy was wreaking havoc on the East Coast, a tsunami warning went off in Hawaii. According to The Wall Street Journal, Honolulu financial planner John Robinson sent an email to all his clients about emergency planning and disaster preparedness. (http://tinyurl.com/cmjcuem) His list included elements common to all disaster plans: water filtration bottles, compact space blankets, flashlights, matches, extra clothes. The tsunami didn’t come, but the threat of one gave Robinson a chance to connect with his clients on a personal level. In advising clients in the event of a natural disaster, Robinson recommends reminding them to consider scenarios such as picking up children from different schools and how spouses will communicate if cell phones are inoperable. “It’s a way,” Robinson said, “for me to strengthen my relationship with existing clients. The role of a planner is far broader than just managing their mutual funds and wrap accounts.” Many shapes, many sizes Other life-changing events can be disasters when they jeopardize your clients’ finances. For instance, your client could be laid off; a sudden illness or injury could put her out of work for months; your client’s identity is stolen. Or it could be something as mundane as an unexpected car repair that runs into the thousands of dollars. (http://tinyurl.com/ctonn4g) These examples and more are why you should advise your client to set up an emergency fund equal to at least six month’s salary. Anything that puts your clients out of work puts their financial stability — short term and long term — in jeopardy, so saving for that rainy day may be the only way they survive. Save early, save often Small sacrifices in several areas can add up to big savings for your clients. Here are some suggestions to help your clients save: • If they have premium cable TV channels, cut back to a less expensive cable tier. • Try to negotiate a cheaper cell phone plan. • Eat out one less time per week. • Make a meal plan, and only buy groceries for those meals — especially when they’re on sale. Even the best of plans can’t help your clients avoid all emergencies. But planning now can help your clients more easily weather the storm, financially and personally. We hope this information was useful to you, your clients and their families. To get more information regarding this or any related topic, please visit our website www.TEPLG.com or call us at 630-871-8778.