Business goals

Plan post-COVID financial planning, business goals

Christopher Giamborone

As The number of COVID-19 cases is fallingand other news is starting to grab the top headlines, it’s a good time for individuals and business owners to take a moment to re-evaluate their investment management, financial planning and business goals as we are beginning the transition to a post-pandemic world.

“I think we’ve all been preoccupied with trying to stay healthy,” says Christopher Giambrone, partner at CG Capital in New Hartford. It’s also important to make sure our financial lives are healthy as well, and now is a good time to do that.

For individuals, one of the main things he suggests is to assess any debt, as all signs point to an increase in interest rates later this year.

Current inflation rates above 7% mean higher interest rates down the road, says Alan Leist, III, CEO of Strategic Financial Services at Utica. Higher inflation also means our dollars aren’t going as far as they used to and raises concerns that the Federal Reserve could overcorrect interest rates and trigger a recession.

Alan Leist

“People are generally unsettled and scared,” notes Leist.

One way for investors to combat this sense of instability is to review investment portfolios and ensure they are well-diversified and regularly monitored, says Strategic Chief Investment Officer Doug Walters.

Giambrone agrees that a portfolio review is in order. “Now is a good time to take a look at your investment portfolio…and make sure it matches your risk profile.”

Giambrone and Leist agree that the pandemic has had an effect on people that could affect their financial planning strategies.

“It encouraged people to think about what a good life means to them,” says Leist. For many people, this has caused them to re-evaluate their priorities.

Doug Walter

“There were a lot of people who assessed things and retired early,” notes Giambrone. Whether it’s retiring early, traveling more, or some other goal, he recommends people get as specific as possible about those goals so they can develop a clear path to get there.

Things like determining when you want to retire and making sure your estate plan is up to date are critical parts of planning and should be constantly evaluated as goals change, notes Leist.

Commercial changes

The workplace is an area that has seen great change during the pandemic. While some people chose to retire, it wasn’t an option for others, Giambrone says. However, between working remotely from home or losing some service sector jobs, there are many factors business owners need to consider as the world emerges from the pandemic.

Work is a big commitment, says Leist. “This commitment must be honored by the workplace, so that the workplace becomes a tool for empowerment.”

People are less stressed if they don’t worry about their finances, and being less stressed can make them more productive, he says. “Make sure your employees are supported financially,” he adds.

Some companies may struggle to find the necessary staff, says Giambrone. He suggests they consider outsourcing tasks when they can. “There are now many companies that specialize in working with small businesses.”

Companies should also reassess the customer relationship to see which service model is best for each customer going forward. Some customers might be eager to return to in-person interactions, while others might prefer to pursue a virtual model. Companies must be ready to adapt.

It’s also a good time for business owners to review their goals and make sure they’re on track. “A really important aspect of being a business owner is your vision,” says Giambrone. Take some time with all the changes brought about by COVID-19 and make sure the company’s actions support that vision, he says.