The Six Worst Advisor Pandemic Clichés of 2020
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
No lie: It crossed my mind last week to delete my LinkedIn account – and social media is what I do for a living. The social media blathering has crescendoed to a deafening level.
Here’s my take on the six worst pandemic clichés that advisors keep using which are ruining their credibility.
First, however, let’s review what a cliché is and why you should never use one. A cliché is a phrase, where, if you someone tells you the beginning, you can fill in the rest. For example, if I said a cliché is a phrase that has been, “beaten to…,” you would know the next word is, “death.” A cliché is a sign the writer is lazy. It shows a lack of thought and originality in one’s writing, and that’s why it can destroy your credibility.
- In these uncertain or challenging times
This phrase had some emotional value, but it’s painfully overused. It has become a ho-humish way to talk about what we are going through. And half the time whatever point you are introducing with this phrase isn’t worth reading about anyways.
Whenever you find yourself writing this, stop and tell yourself to have something better to say.
- Now, more than ever before
Whenever I see somebody on social media using this phrase I know that they are about to slap me with some command that usually benefits them more than me. It’s a dramatic statement, but most of the time it’s simply not true.
- Now more than ever before it’s important to consider rolling over your IRA to a Roth (that way I can get a big old commission).
- Now more than ever before it’s important to have a comprehensive financial plan (send me the check for $5,000).
Remember 2008 when Lehman collapsed? Having a financial plan now is more important than it was then? I remember there were people delivering pizza to pay their bills.
- In the age of coronavirus
Oh, so now we are revising the chronology of the world? Now it goes Stone Age, Bronze Age, Age of Heroes, Iron Age – and then - Coronavirus Age.
We’re eight months into it. This is not an age or an epoch. The Bronze Age was 1,500 years long.
I understand that you are trying to imply that civilization is about to meet its demise. Or that now because we are all using Zoom it’s just like how bronze replaced stone tools and weapons.
I see the point about using new tools. However, we are not rewriting the legal code or reforming our use of city-states - and Mycenaean Greece is not collapsing. In fact, people have become fatigued by many of the annoying things like handwashing and only being able to have two people in the elevator at the same time. Once a vaccine comes, many of these conventions will vanish.
This is a generation-defining period in our lives, but it is not an inflection point in the ascent of civilization. Stop exaggerating to make a grandiose point. It won’t get your Facebook post to 50 likes and shares.
- We’re in this together!
No, we are not!
Yes, it feels noble to cheer on the healthcare workers and the people who work at the electric company for risking their lives. It looks great on social media. That is where the comradery ends, however, between our profession and the rest of the world.
Our profession is just as divisive as before. Despite how you want to appear on social media, it is simply not that virtuous of a profession. Not in the eye of the public. Not in reality. Not in any sense. It’s not.
Look at the times when the government went and handed out free money in the form of business loans. I know this is a controversial topic, but it never stopped me before. Were advisors unselfish, considerate of the next person, and willing to put their agenda on hold for the sake of doing the right thing for others? No. It was one of the clearest examples of human greed I’ve seen in this industry in years.
Why doesn’t somebody do a social media post about that? I did a podcast about it and you should have seen the emails I got. If there is one person in this profession who has had it all said to her – I’ve got news for you, advisors – it is me.
- Pandemic market volatility strategy
Groundbreaking advice: Stay the course during market volatility and don’t sell when your stock is at its 52-week low. What to do in market volatility? Relax and stay the course.
This is such thought leadership.
- Stay balanced and mindful during the pandemic
These wellness blogs are so corny.
This one is the most ridiculous I’ve ever heard. It sounds good, but it’s not possible. It’s a lie. It is not possible to be balanced right now.
I have three kids in remote learning. Antonio, my man, can’t work. He literally can’t have a job anymore because one of us has to be a stay-at-home teacher for the kids. There must be a bird in my refrigerator drinking the milk because I cannot keep a gallon of it in the house. We go through two gallons of milk by Thursday. Tell me, you quantitative geniuses reading this article – how does that happen?
Balanced? Mindful? The only peace will be when somebody finds a vaccine and ends my misery.
Wellness during the pandemic. How to sleep during the pandemic. How to eat during the pandemic. How to stay financially fit during the pandemic.
Give up trying to have the Roth IRA conversion be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for every blog you write on financial wellness. It’s forced.
Find something else to write about, advisors. Here’s an idea. Get better estate planning and tax knowledge instead of trying to be a life coach. Practically none of you are trained to talk about this stuff and you’re just parroting what someone else (who is qualified) said.
These aren’t coronavirus specific, but still annoying:
- Any social media post that begins with “So humbled to…” How vapid.
- The myriad of blogs about what is going to happen to the market with the election. I’d say 99% of you have zero original thinking on this. Instead, link to your competitor’s website or the research firm that you copied from and forgot to cite.
- Any social media video shot in front of a bookshelf. Look, at least put some interesting books on the shelf, okay?
Hopefully with 2020 ending soon, things will get better. Maybe they won’t, but at least we can cool it with the cheesy social media pandemic posts? I’ll stop if you stop.
And, in the meantime, please join my membership and let’s talk about doing something creative on social media instead of being like every other boring advisor.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a marketing consultant who helps investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms fight the tendency to scatter meaningless clichés on their prospects and bore them as a result. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor.