Taking Care of First Responders:
Working super-high risk jobs, first responder police officersand firefighters are a fearless lot, to be sure. But in the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying financial mayhem,who is providing these courageous front-line employeeswith support and assurance for their own needs, especially about their hard-earned retirement savings? Serve &Protect Financial founder Brian McGinnis, a retired 25-yearcop, for one.
Those in this client niche trust him because, after all, he’swalked in their shoes. So has the firm’s co-founder, WendyMcGinnis, Brian’s wife, who put in17 years as a police officer beforeher retirement.
An advisor since 2011, whenhe opened his independent practice after retiring that year as adeputy sheriff on Florida’s WestCoast, McGinnis, 62, works as afee-based advisor in Tampa andalso serves clients in Miami, PalmBeach County, Fort Lauderdale,Texas and Atlanta.
“The phone is blowing upwith all the people who didn’t[go through the experience of]the [2008-2009] financial crisis.They’re saying, ‘Wow! My accountwent down $150,000.’ Add thatanxiety to going to work everyday as a first responder and theregular stressors that go with it,”McGinnis said in an interview inlate April.
“They’re not scared of going towork — but on top of all the otherdoom and gloom in their lives,it’s this one-off that’s scaring them. They’ve never dealtwith it before, and they don’t know how to stop or fix it,”he explained.
What do these clients want when they call? “They need toknow that someone is watching their account and understandswhat’s happening. They want a bit of pressure taken off themselves. They want someone else to worry because they’ve gotenough on their plates,” the advisor said.
What does McGinnis tell them? “Let me show you some
of the patterns of the past. Do you know of any market
downturn where there wasn’t a recovery? A black swan can
happen. But black swan events
recover,” he said. “You hit them
with statistics in layman’s terms and
be a really good listener.”
In January, the firm put 20-25% of equity positions into a
conservative moderate portfolio. “So we softened the blow.
It had nothing to do with thinking that the coronavirus was
coming. It was because this is a presidential election year, and
it’s been proven statistically that there’s a lot of volatility in
election years,” McGinnis explained.
“The market had been pretty solid. If our clients had a 14%or 15% return the previous 18 months, we lowered their expectations and went into a conservative play, mentioning that oldsaying, ‘Pigs get eaten; hogs get slaughtered.’ In other words,we didn’t want to be overly aggressive,” he said.
What does he tell those who want to go to cash? “We explainto them that if they’re not in the market, any time there’s aresurgence they won’t be getting that upside. We explain thecause and effect of any type of significant movement, such asgoing all to cash. But the answer always lies with the client,”McGinnis shared.