During the COVID-19 pandemic, you might find yourself at home needing financial advice more than ever before. And you’re not alone. In a recent survey of Canadians, 51% cited financial concerns as a contributing cause of their mental health challenges.

Maybe you have a plan that you need to revisit. Or, you need to start planning from scratch. Whatever the case, you may wonder, “How can I work with an advisor when I can’t meet with them?”

Working with an advisor remotely or virtually

Normally, you would meet an advisor face-to-face, either at your home or their office. But this isn’t an option for most Canadians right now. Luckily, remote advice or virtual advice is. Not only is it necessary now – it will be the norm in the future as our habits change.

In a physically distant world, we need to stay connected. Advisors have adapted to help Clients meet the challenges of today and the future.

Why work with an advisor during a pandemic?

Everyone is experiencing this pandemic differently – mentally and financially. Advisors can bring you calm and reassurance.

Sara Zollo (CFP®, CLU®, CHS™*), a Sun Life Financial advisor who shifted to virtual advice is hearing from Clients – new and old. And she’s helping them deal with their two main sources of anxiety:

  • income loss and
  • retirement worries.

This is where great advice and experience from an advisor comes in.

 “For those who lost their income, I’m helping them budget and figure out the government programs available,” explains Zollo. “For those early in retirement, I remind them that we planned for market volatility* just like this.”

“Markets go up and down. I’m reassuring them that they planned for the worst,” she adds. “Yes, the worst is here – but everything will be ok.”

Whatever situation you’re in – now is the right time to talk with an advisor. They’re ready to help you:

  • manage your savings in a volatile market**,
  • make changes to your retirement plan and
  • help you deal with reduced income.

*Mutual funds distributed by Sun Life Financial Investment Services (Canada) Inc.

**Market volatility refers to dramatic swings or ups and downs in the markets.

What is a financial plan and why do you need it?

The value of planning ahead has never been more obvious. We’re seeing this as the world responds to this pandemic. “But people who planned have something to fall back on,” says Zollo. “A plan helps you not make emotional decisions in the moment.”

A financial plan is:

  • a list of the things that are important to you now,
  • what you want to work toward, and
  • an outline for how you’re going to use your money to achieve your goals.

Regardless of where you are financially, it’s natural to worry about market fluctuations, the economy and your savings. It’s a phenomenon called “recency bias.” It means remembering something that happened recently vs. something that happened a while back. In this case, remembering that the market went down.  

“A holistic plan considers market downturns just like this one. However, some fear that what we’re living through will continue,” says Zollo. “I help by going back through the plan with Clients and making sure everything still makes sense or is adjusted as needed. Or, I start plans with situations like this accounted for. My biggest piece of advice is to stay invested and keep your contributions going – if you can.”

What if you already have a plan in place?

Sara also advises people who have a plan to go back and look at their risk tolerance. “Comparing your answers pre-and post-pandemic will offer an interesting point of view,” she says.

Everyone can benefit from sound financial advice – no matter how much money you have to work with. “My hope is that people will learn from this extreme situation and find a level of financial stability. Whether that’s budgeting, reflecting on what you’re spending, saving for an emergency, or gaining a ‘just in case mentality.’ A shift in attitude about planning and saving would be a huge step for a lot of people,” says Zollo.

What can you expect when meeting with an advisor on video chat?

Your experience meeting with an advisor on video-conferencing tools like Zoom will not be very different from an in-person meeting. You can expect an advisor to:

  • ask questions,
  • listen to your goals and concerns,
  • get to know you and
  • understand your needs.

“Zoom is a great alternative to having face-to-face meetings,” says Zollo. “It’s efficient to share information and reduces travel time for everyone.”

When you talk to a Sun Life Financial advisor through Zoom, you may need to enable your video camera. You can rest assured that we’ve made sure it’s safe and secure for you to do that. During the meeting, you’ll be able to see your advisor and the information they share from their computer screen. You’ll be in full control of your video camera.

What if you want to move ahead with a plan?

Traditionally, insurance and investment purchases are paper-based with ink signatures needed. However, Sun Life has adjusted our processes to make it easier to work an advisor virtually. From e-signature, to going paperless, we’ve got the digital tools to help you keep your finances on track.

Looking for an advisor?

If you're not already, consider working with an advisor. You can connect with a Sun Life Financial advisor virtually and securely. Find an advisor