Many advisors have seen economic fear up close and personal this year. "Some clients have lost good jobs," reports Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, a planner at Capelli Financial Services in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "It's a shock at all levels, psychologically as much as financially."

For such clients, planners can play a vital role in facilitating their economic survival. "We do financial triage," Dimitroff says. The priorities involve uncovering spending needs and finding enough resources to cover those necessities.

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