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'Should I buy ammo?' Financial planners field difficult questions during pandemic, election

By Trevor Fraser, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

If clients of financial planners are a barometer, people are worried about the future. "I've gotten the question a couple times, 'Colby, should I stock up on weapons and ammunition?' " said Colby Winslow, a personal wealth manager with Creative Planning in Orlando, Fla.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, financial planners have been getting some tough questions from very troubled clients.

"There's a raw emotion that has been brought to the forefront because of this pandemic that's not going away," said John West of Spraker Wealth Management. "It has caused more candid conversations with people, centered primarily around politics."

A financial advisor for more than 10 years, West said his firm came into 2020 expecting volatility and anxious clients, even before the pandemic hit in March.

"There's a lot of questions I get related to be who is going to be president for the next four years," he said.

But this year, coronavirus has preempted the typical election concerns, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 10,000 points in March.


"When you look at historic bear markets, this was a pretty quick one," Winslow, 39, said.

As the stock market fell, some clients also took an apocalyptic view. "I got questions like, 'Should I sell it and put it all under the mattress?' " Winslow said. " 'Should I be invested in foreign currencies because the dollar is about to deteriorate?'

"Some clients had the impression the world was coming to end and therefore the stock market just doesn't make a difference. So (they wondered) should they be selling everything and hoarding in their bunker, so to speak."

The market has since turned around and last month finished erasing the losses of early in the year, though certain segments remain weak. "You see what is so important to our Central Florida economy - travel and leisure, hotels, airlines - that are just decimated," West said.


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