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Business picking up due to volatile market while some neglect retirement plans as pandemic persists

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought drastic changes to many local businesses and among those are investment firms.

Financial advisors are facing an environment where in-person interaction has been replaced with virtual meetings with customers and a steady market that has turned more volatile as the world deals with the ongoing health crisis.

For Oliver Wisseman, a financial advisor at one of Prineville's two Edward Jones offices, the good news is his staff has tried to prepare people for market volatility.

"We have luckily been able to train our clients to expect times like this, where there is a lot of market volatility," he said, "so many of our clients are looking for opportunities with the volatility."

As a result, Wisseman has seen an uptick in business and it is taking place during a time when face-to-face meetings with clients has taken a backseat to virtual sessions.

"Since we can't meet in person, we have gone more to Zoom or Webex in order to have as best of a face-to-face interaction as possible," he said.

Ray Austin, with Country Financial points out that now is a good time to reassess retirement plans and future financial goals.

"A recent Country Financial survey found that half of Americans have not made changes to their retirement plans since the pandemic hit, while 7% reported pausing contributions and 4% reported decreasing contributions. Thirty-four percent reported not having a retirement plan at all," he said. "The pandemic presents an opportunity to reassess your future goals and anchor yourself to them. Now is a good time to talk with your financial representative about how the pandemic has affected your finances and your future plans."

Austin adds that since the pandemic began, people's risk tolerance levels may have changed, so they may need to diversify their strategy, or they may have decided to work longer so you can save more before retiring.

Though the short-term condition of the market is uncertain, Wisseman said that the long-term market outlook is still positive. He points out that this situation started out as a health crisis that ultimately affected the economy, not as an economic crisis such as the last recession.

"Because of that, we have seen that the economy has been very resilient," he said. "Coupled with the stimulus that we have seen from the federal government and the federal reserve, we think the long-term outlook is very positive."

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