Debbie Freeman is Peak Financial Advisors’ Principal and Director of Financial Planning, and also the President of the Colorado FPA.
Debbie is the fifth interview in our “My New Normal” series—check out the other entries here.
In this series, we’re talking with financial advisors and the people who work with them to learn how COVID-19 has impacted their working environments, and how they think the wealth management industry will change as a result of an increase in remote, digital-first work.
One good thing that has happened in my life since the COVID-19 pandemic began is the impact it has had on my relationships, both professionally and personally.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
On the professional level, I have always enjoyed the softer skills of our profession—the listening, the empathy, determining values. This has been so important when working with clients over the last five months. It has continued to help me reinforce those bonds with my clients and allows them the space to be truly open and honest with me (and themselves) as we plan and make adjustments to the changes in their lives.
On a personal note, I have really benefitted from reducing the noise within my daily life and focusing on those relationships that matter the most. I have been reminded of quality versus quantity in all of my relationships.
My day-to-day routine has changed substantially, just like everyone else! I was the old-school person in the office 5 days a week. I enjoyed the energy of my coworkers, the office space & the bustling neighborhood.
Currently, I am in the office about half-time. Those office days are SO important to me and I often work long days to maximize my uninterrupted office time. I see this schedule for the foreseeable future, as we have opted for our children to start school in an online format.
I am not going to use the Z word here, as everyone knows how important that has become!
We recently changed to a VOIP phone system and that has been helpful to keep a high level of client service.
Between the three of us in the firm, we have relied heavily on Facetime to stay connected. Many of our most integral technology partners are already cloud-based so that made the transition easy.
The experience of 2020 has reminded me how important it is to work with clients that energize you. Yes, problems can be tough to tackle and emotions run high, but it often does not feel burdensome when you are tackling it with people you have a great relationship with.
Our business is so much more than just numbers. I have been reminded that success needs to be measured in our own terms. This has been a difficult time for everyone so focusing on even the small successes make it easier to keep moving forward.
Digital meetings have reduced complexity around scheduling, time to travel, etc. but most of my clients have expressed that they cannot wait to get back into the office and spend time with us in person.
A resounding YES! I understand that I am probably in the minority here, but I am a huge fan of the separation between work and home.
I like to focus on work when I am in the office and give myself the permission to focus on my family when I am at home. Those lines have become very blurred during this time and it has brought me more stress and guilt. I do not think this pandemic is the end of commercial real estate as we know it.
I believe many people are more productive and get energized by their separate work environments. I cannot wait to go back full-time.
I think financial services has the capability to be a fully digital profession, but I do not believe that experience is what every client wants.