What’s So Stressful about Being a Financial Advisor?

What’s So Stressful about Being a Financial AdvisorBeing a financial advisor comes with a lot of responsibility. A recent survey by Adhesion Wealth Advisor Solutions, an investment platform provider, found that nearly 80 percent of surveyed financial advisors rate their work-related stress levels at a 7 or higher (out of 10) and more than 60 percent say they’ve grown more stressed over the past year. The biggest culprits are “having responsibility for their clients’ futures” (52 percent peg it at level nine or 10), “marketing and building their businesses” (42 percent) and “client demands” (37 percent).

Asked if there were “major stressors” to be addressed in subsequent polls, half the respondents suggested work factors get in the way of “maintaining a healthy work-life balance.”

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Some people may cope with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events quicker than others. It’s important to know your limits. Not all stress is bad. Research suggests that we are continually bombarded by physical and emotional demands or stimuli in our world. Every single one of us has a unique internal mechanism that realigns our body’s reaction to this stimuli and coping effectively. However, when faced with an event or thought (called a stressor) that overwhelms our ability to maintain this equilibrium, it can result in a negative physical, emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral response.

“Advisors are in a unique situation in that they’re not just experiencing their own stress, but the stress of the client. We call it second-hand stress,” said Tracy White, director of Janus Labs in Denver.

If independent financial advisors do not get their stress under control, it will become a long-term health threat. When stress levels are high, productivity is lower and performance is poor. If advisors don’t fight it, they become emotionally and physically worn out. This affects mood, productivity, sales and the ability to prospect. Not to mention stress wreaks havoc on the body. The long-term impact of too much stress can be catastrophic, leading to high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease and a host of other ailments.

Health magazine named the profession among its 10 careers with the highest rates of depression, mainly because of the pressure that comes with “handling thousands or millions of dollars for other people.”

To help alleviate stress, White recommends the following behavioral strategies:

Make time throughout the day to take small breaks. Call a friend or listen to music. “Don’t just wait for the two-week vacation or the long weekend you’re going to take three months from now. It’s really about working it into your day,” she said.

Schedule meetings for 55 minutes – instead of 60. “What can happen is a lot of advisors go from one meeting to the next or from one phone call to the next and you’re kind of flat-lining throughout the day. As human beings we want to oscillate. Be cyclical,” she said.

Don’t forget to take breaks when you’re experiencing positive stress, too. Well-performing markets will also have an impact. So, remember to keep disengaging throughout the day when things are going well for clients, too, because too much positive stress can be taxing, as well.

Habits are easier to make than they are to break. It’s been said it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. Are you ready?

For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.

Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.

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