Weekly Executive Update: When Will Masks Go Away?


I am not a big fan of masks.  I’m not advocating that we shouldn’t be wearing them or that they don’t work, I’m just honestly stating that they are uncomfortable to wear.  I don’t like the way they fog up my glasses and they make me start sneezing after I’ve worn one for an extended time……and if you start sneezing in the local grocery store even while wearing a mask….people start glaring at you because you must be spreading COVID-19 to everyone.  Many people refuse to wear their masks, and depending upon the place, the region of the country and other factors they get differing results. 

As the country moves forward and tries to re-open the economy, many of the typical societal norms will have changed.  The question becomes whether these habits and expectations have changed forever or if it is just for a limited time.  In their soon-to-be-released report, Digital Technology and Financial Behaviors, Spectrem recently completed research with investors regarding their expectations of how they intend to engage with their financial advisors in the future, and there are some important implications for the financial services industry.  

1. Most investors (54%) still want to meet face-to-face with their advisor at his or her office, but a similar percentage (54%) expect their advisor to wear a mask during that meeting.  Thirty-six percent of investors "don't care" if their advisor wears a mask.

2. Almost a third of investors (32%) prefer to meet virtually only with their advisor in the future.  Fifty-six percent prefer to conduct financial transactions virtually at the present time.

For many, the arrival of a vaccine is foreseen as the time when life will return to normal.  But that “miraculous moment” is not agreed upon by all.  As you can see below, even post-vaccine the largest number of individuals prefer that masks remain, shields are in place at businesses, social distancing remains and crowds are not allowed. 


Of course these preferences vary greatly dependent upon age, gender, region, and other factors.  All of this information is available in our report:  Digital Technology and Financial Behaviors.

Financial advisors and firms need to understand that “normal” is not in the near future if ever.  Additionally, the ability to conduct both meeting and transactions virtually will change the advisor-client future forever.  Be aware of clients who want to only meet virtually (they can be both young and old) and make sure that transactions can be easily conducted electronically. 

So my mask is around to stay...at least for awhile.  Maybe it's time to find some that are more comfortable?  Le me know if you find one that doesn't fog up my glasses!