Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 1-14-2019 - Strategizing Wealth Risks By: Amy Irvine

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You can probably tell from the theme of the blogs this month that we are focusing on getting organized.  Why is this such an important topic that we feel the need to keep hammering on it? Being organized, if a risk event actually occurs, is key to both the success of knowing how to handle the event and understanding the “why” behind any decisions that have to be made during a potentially highly stressful situation.

For clients, we will be asking you about, and/or updating, your risks during the review meetings this year, we know some of these aren’t exactly “fun” to talk about, but they are important:

  • Loss of property risk (i.e. a home or car) due to a Peril

  • Liability Risk (i.e. someone suing)

  • Large expense risk (i.e. replacing a roof, furnace, car, health care, college)

  • Loss or change of a job (i.e. company reduction in workforce)

  • Economic Risks (i.e. recessionary pressures affecting portfolio performance)

  • Loss of Life (i.e.a spouse or significant other)

  • Disability (i.e. unable to work)

  • Safety Risk (i.e. does your neighborhood have safety issues, are you aware of who and what is around you?)

If you are a small business owner, then you may want to also think of:

  • Reputation Risk (i.e. someone representing your company could behave in a manner that causes the business to lose reputation)

  • Employee Risk (i.e. their problems can become your problems and the laws around employment can be challenging)

  • Loss of business or prospective business

  • Safety of Employees

  • Compliance with Federal and State Laws

  • Operation and Business Continuity Risk (i.e. how does the business continue if one of the above happens to YOU)

I’ll share two recent personal experiences from the lists above, just to drive the point home.

  • Safety Risk:  I know many of you are going to be shaking your head yes to this question - have you ever been walking out of the grocery store, pushing a cart, reading an email, Facebook post, text message, etc.?   I was recently doing that and Brent brought it to my attention. For those of you that know him, you know he’s low drama, so when he starts a sentence with, “You know….,” it makes me pause. He went on to say, “that device you have in your hand makes you a target.  You aren’t paying attention to what is going on around you.” He’s right. Yes, I admitted that he was right and now it is forever out on the internet...maybe that’s a risk I should have considered! In all seriousness, someone who is texting while driving could be equally distracted, resulting in a major injury. It could also be that someone is watching and waiting for that distracted person to steal their purse.  So tuck the phone away in your organized purse and be less distracted for your safety!

  • For my business owners, you will relate to this one.  I had a corporate account I had prepared a request for proposal on.  The company sent out a basic request and I responded with what I thought was a solid proposal, I was even told, “our employees would be lucky to get to work with you.”  This was in December, and with a statement like that, I thought I was a pretty good contender, so when I was working on my budget for 2019, I included the potential revenue from that prospective client, along with increased time and wages for one of our part-time employees.  I was shocked and disappointed on Friday when I was told I wasn’t selected. I reached out to find out why and discovered there was unclear messaging on both sides of the “table.” I did provide the services they were asking for, but they had changed the scope of work I thought they desired.  Therefore, based on what I gave them, they didn’t feel I was the right selection. Although I was disappointed, thankfully I didn’t put the cart before the horse. Although I budgeted for additional staff, I hadn’t yet added them. That risk of not being able to pay yourself and the employees is particularly high for our small business clients, so being organized around projects and planning for the disappointments is key to longevity.