female advisor on the phone

This is the first instalment of Ellen’s Positive Notes, a weekly column by Ellen Bessner designed to lighten the mood during tough times.

What a week.

I may be the last person you want to hear from, but I have a bit of practical advice for you: Call your clients.

Some advisors may avoid their clients when there’s this much bad news. Please, do not be that advisor.

When your clients ask their friends if they’ve heard from their advisors, the answer will often be no. But clients need you the most when markets are tough — and everything is tough now. Calling your clients will help you stand out from the crowd.

Of course, calling your clients may be easier said than done. What do you say to them? Here is a list of ideas:

1. How are you?

2. How is your family?

3. I am just checking in to make sure everyone is okay.

4. I know you must be worrying about, well, just about everything.

5. Yes, I know Trump is saying this will likely go on for months.

6. Here are some bright things to think about:

  • We are all in the same boat. The key is to keep our health, so be careful and try to smile — it can help.
  • Stay safe and well, and we will get through this.
  • The world has suffered from viruses like this before, but now we have modern medicine.
  • Isn’t it lucky that even though we may be isolated, we have the internet, TV, Netflix and other modern conveniences that we didn’t have decades ago?

7. You know what I am doing to keep healthy? I am going for a walk every day and doing online stretch classes.

8. Also, I want to sleep well, so for the first time in my life I am listening to mediation off the web before I go to sleep. It really helps to calm nerves.

9. There are also games on the internet, like Scrabble.

10. If you want to watch a cute video on YouTube, check out “Bessner Dog Goes Fishing.” Nothing happens in it, but that’s why it’s a good watch — it’s relaxing. There are many other adorable animal videos on YouTube that will definitely make you smile, if that’s what you like to watch.

11. I am learning to bake bread. It is really hard, but it is something I have wanted to learn, and now I get to do it. (Note: This should be about you, so make sure you insert something true about yourself in this list. I am not actually learning how to bake bread — yet!)

12. The weather is improving. We will have the best gardens this spring. Gardening will also be therapeutic.

13. We will survive this, and I will keep in touch with you regularly, both in group emails and with calls. Feel free to call me any time.

That is my list, folks. Stay safe and try to smile at strangers. It works for me!