What the pandemic taught me about financial planning
January 07, 2021 | Mike Togle

Depending on how we choose to look at this crisis, it leads to a lot of possible teaching moments. And with this pandemic, it teaches us about health, financial planning, and the value of relationships.

It reminds us of the fragility of life. It also gives us a more relatable perspective of economics, socio-cultural trends, finances, healthcare and the importance of relationships.

We see various companies and industries struggle; we see others thrive.

Damian Barr shared, “We are in the same storm with different boats.” And this could not be any more true.

This pandemic shows us that there are those who prepared for crisis situations and can outlast most of us. On the other hand, it shakes some of us awake and tells us “Hey, you better work on your foundations.” Sadly, it also gives us a view of a world that will not stand a chance.

None of us know how long the crisis will last. 

It’s like a storm after all!


learn financial planning during pandemic

Controlling the Storm

Yet, it’s not about the storm, which is uncontrollable. Instead, it’s about focusing on what we can control.

This includes learning more about what we need to prepare and what tools we should have to survive these storms. Perhaps, it’s also about knowing what kind of boat we should have. And we know every choice has consequences.

Being in a storm-beaten country like the Philippines, many of us feel we know everything about survival. But, these storms are different, and here are a few things I’ve learned.

  1. We don’t know how long these kinds of storms last. And while we’re in a storm, our financial health continues to be battered by various financial risks. Yet, through timely financial planning, clients can survive big storms like these.
  2. The plans that we, financial consultants, prepare for our clients bring positive outcomes, especially during crises. Our clients benefit from not only gaining knowledge on financial planning, but they are able to transfer their risks through a properly crafted insurance product that offers guaranteed, instant benefits.
  3. A physical office is not a necessity. I’ve been an advocate of remote work even when I was still working in corporate, and this crisis helped everyone realize that it can be done. I can efficiently conduct online meetings from home. I don’t need to spend money renting or buying office buildings. Physical infrastructure budgets can be redirected to talent development or better compensation and benefits.
  4. Financial planning during a crisis is different, and I’m sure it will be different even after the pandemic ends. Before, the emergency fund formula I recommended to clients was six times their routine monthly expenses. Since the start of the pandemic, I made it nine times just to cover a longer duration, and I helped them realize the need to focus more on hospital health benefits, income protection due to critical illness and bigger life insurance.
  5. Always be aware of developments in the global markets. News about the local market is generally more accessible and we’re used to monitoring it, but global trends are somehow forgotten. Historically, crises occur about every 10 to 15 years, and they can begin elsewhere before showing up at your docks. Whatever concern it is, we financial advisors are required to prepare the best “boat” for our clients in all types of situations; all types of weather. Knowing what’s happening globally helps us prepare sooner for when a crisis becomes local.

Financial Planning 2.0

As a financial consultant, a broad and informed perspective about crises is critical.

Many financial consultants in the country offer financial planning services using the products that they carry, and it may be because it was how they were trained.

As a design thinking consultant, I feel that this must change.

Gone should be the days that we blindly offer templatedproducts just for the sake of a sale. Yes, we believe that the products we offer are great, because, honestly, they are. But, this is why the services we provide must be genuine, true, and aligned.

By using design thinking principles, we must craft our service offerings to the needs of our clients. Let them design their boat while you inject the right information and the right questions that they need to hear to make educated decisions.

If you’re a client reading this, would you feel better about making your own INFORMED decisions on what you want out of your financial plan and insurance product?

You definitely would.


“Financial Planning done at the RIGHT TIME can help your finances overcome most crisis situations.”

Mike Togle, Retirement Coach



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