As many financial planners have discovered over the past few years, unsettled markets mean many nervous phone calls and emails from clients. Investors want to know why their investments may be down and when the turmoil will stop. Of course, no advisor can predict the future and many are therefore left with little more to offer than general reassurances. They have nothing in their toolboxes to relieve or lessen the client’s anxiety – and that can lead to unpleasant conversations.

Such a tool does exist, however, and it’s one that many planners already use in their initial client meetings. It is the household balance sheet, which quantifies and summarizes an investor’s financial resources and goals.  During regularly scheduled meetings, it can help clients assess their goals and make sure they are on track to achieve them. But the household balance sheet can become especially useful when the economic news is unsettling, as it so often has been of late.

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