A Financial Advisor's Guide to Fall

John Diehl   |  Wed Sep 21 12:30:00 EDT 2016


If you’ve walked into any store recently, you’ll notice Halloween and even Thanksgiving decorations already on display. With the weather beginning to cool down and the leaves starting to change, it’s clear that summer is officially over, and the fall season has arrived. The fall isn’t just a time to enjoy hayrides and cider donuts, though—it’s also an opportunity to use fall favorites to proffer a few financial reminders to your clients.


Pigskins are back in action, and so are the all-popular fantasy football leagues. If you have clients that participate in fantasy football, use that as a comparison for their investments. What parameters do they use for making their picks? How much time do they spend researching players before the draft? How do they decide when and why to make a trade during the season? The amount of time and dedication that is put into fantasy football plays should be equal or lesser to the amount of time and dedication put into a client’s investment portfolio. It’s the same concept, really—research, picks, trades, wins and losses—so it’s an easy way to help clients be more in tune with their finances.

The Election
This election cycle, perhaps more than others, has been overflowing with media coverage and commotion, which can cause anxiety among clients. Which candidate will be better for the economy? How will the markets be affected by each candidate? Is now the time to exit the market or move into lower-risk investments? Your clients may have a lot of concerns, so it will be important to stay ahead of these questions. According to recent research, the president may not be very likely to influence the stock market, and historically stocks have done well in the long term with both Democratic and Republican presidents. The fall will see an even greater deluge of election coverage, so remember to curb clients’ election woes so that they don’t make any rash or emotional financial choices.

Pumpkin Spice Everything
With the advent of fall also comes the onslaught of specialty seasonal products, which are branded as “limited-time only” and sold at a premium, so it could be a good reminder to do a check-up of clients’ budgets. It can be tempting to give into the seasonal craze and start making a habit of stopping for a fancy flavored coffee drink—it’s only for a limited time!—but those kinds of luxuries can actually add up fast. Take this opportunity to review clients’ assets and goals, and to make any necessary changes. It’s always good to do periodic evaluations, to make sure that any life changes or big events are accounted for, and what better time than at the start of the holiday spending season?

Checking in with clients is a best practice no matter when or how you do it, but this fall, have a little fun with your conversation starters, and get clients talking by bringing up one of these autumnal issues.

Happy fall!

John Diehl

John Diehl  

Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets Hartford Funds

John Diehl is senior vice president of Strategic Markets for Hartford Funds. He and his team are responsible for engaging and educating financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes. John also oversees Hartford Funds’ relationship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab.

John joined the company in 1988 and was promoted to assistant vice president in 1991 and vice president in 1997. He was named senior vice president in 2007, while he led the Retirement and Wealth Consulting Group, which was responsible for building awareness and knowledge of retirement challenges and the latest planning strategies to address them. In 2012, John was named Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets; in this role, he devotes his efforts to serving the needs of financial advisors and their clients.

John has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Planning, and On Wall Street. He has also appeared as a featured guest on CNBC and Bloomberg Television to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

John attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) since 1991. In addition, he holds the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designations. He is also FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 26 registered and holds a life and variable insurance license.

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