Financial Advisors aren’t in the Emergency Business

May 5th,  2024  [5 min. read]

By Drew W. Boyer, CFP®

Financial Advisors aren’t in the Emergency Business.

At Boyer Financial Group, our slogan is: ‘We Serve Everyday Heroes’.  That means first responders - the people you don’t want to meet while they’re on duty, but are glad they’re ready to respond and make your bad day have a better outcome.  Just like any insurance: hate to pay it, but glad when you have it.

Working with first responders (ie. fire fighters, police, medics), I am highly in-tune with all the variations of shifts: 24-hours-on /48-hours-off, 1st/2nd/3rd shifts, and 3- 12’s.  Unike us in ‘normal jobs’, most of my clients have to work weekends and miss holidays regularly while they serve us. They adapt, but the general public doesn’t have to. 

There’s always trade-offs with each of our professions, right?

Because of these schedule variations, I get contacted everyday at mostly respectful hours, but we try to keep the standard M-F, 9-5 office hours.  Being honest and a small business owner, I am usually working at all hours and days too.  What I do emphasize to clients is that while we serve primarily emergency workers, we ourselves are not in the emergency business.  

To be clear, financial planning is about being proactive, not reactive. There's a big difference.

Despite what a client may think is a ‘money emergency’, chances are:

  • The problem could have been planned for in advance,
  • Said problem could have been altogether avoided or alleviated with a properly funded emergency cash account,
  • The stock market does what the stock market does- if it only went up everyday then everyone would be investing, 
  • They had forgotten that it takes at least one to two business days to get their money back from their investment account, and
  • Despite thinking we cover all matters of finance, we are not CPA’s nor Attorneys (unless said professional has that alphabet soup behind their name).   

Listening to your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and proactively planning ahead, maintaining emergency funds, investing wisely according to your risk tolerance, and understanding the basics of financial management will set you up for success from the short term to long term. Trust me, planning and then updating that plan when life changes, works.

I spent the first decade in the finance biz as a SINK (solo income, no kids). Life and business was great until the dirty dishes got broken during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-2009.  Nevertheless, I made myself available at all hours to my clients, stayed a calming voice of reason, and kept many of them from making irreversible financial decisions. 

Starting a family in 2013 forced a shift in my availability. Anyone with children knows the struggle—life becomes survival mode. Balancing family priorities with maintaining top-notch service for my clients was challenging. As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a group."

Enter my assistants and multiple office locations. More back-office support so I could deliver what I do best from more locations.  A bit more driving and lots more calls from the road, but we made it work.  Life got busier, but manageable. 

COVID-world introduced new variations on working schedules and how we all meet (in-person v. remote). Adaptability became paramount. Fortunately, yours truly was well-versed in the art of schedule variations and once I had met my German wife, I traveled a lot and had to become an expert in remote work.

What my industry and I weren’t prepared for was the mass exodus of retirees. Baby boomer clients that could retire, did. They then referred their friends to a reliable and trustworthy CFP, which I have and always will be grateful for.  A referral is the highest compliment a professional can receive.

With the added clients and workload, time became a premium and guardrails for quality family time and self-care had to be planned-out and respected. I was no longer a ‘SINK’ and couldn’t behave that way.  I was a married with children ‘SEE’ (self-employed entrepreneur) burning the candle on both ends and the middle. My willingness to help at all hours had to be adjusted to a normal professional’s hours to keep the right work-life balance. Like: 

  1. Most of my client’s financial ‘emergencies’ after hours or on weekends could wait until Monday - Friday, 9-5.    
  2. Clients needed to call my dedicated office number to schedule an appointment or call, not my cell phone.  
  3. We went all-in on opening a best-in-class, dedicated office space, in a desirable location for the right client-advisor experience.  No more running from multiple offices in the same day to meet clients.

Overwhelmingly, these necessary changes were an easy transition with 99% of clients who mutually respected our time together. Those few clients who were unwilling to, we parted ways and it was all the better for everyone.   

I encourage this same work-life balance for all my clients and encourage personal guardrails so you too put your family and self-care first, not last. I’m a much better financial advisor, relaxed than stressed. I know firsthand working OT, running children around from event-to-event, trying to volunteer, then the hour and half to go through personal and professional emails on Sunday night. No thank you- count me out.

If you haven’t yet, make a financial and life plan like I have. You certainly can’t plan away all emergencies, but you can become proactive rather than reactive. Almost everything you think is a financial emergency now was the result of long-term delay. Most credit card debt builds up slowly from bad spending habits like arteries getting clogged from years of unhealthy eating. 

Don’t want to? It will catch up with you eventually when a real emergency hits and my first responder clients show up to save you. 

Just remember there is no financial 911.