By A. Andrew (Andy) Marwede, Forum Partner

With more than 30 years in the financial services industry, I have learned that I am happier and more successful when these three Hs — Head, Heart and Hours — are in alignment with each other.

So, my advice to my former self and all financial advisors takes the form of a question: “How is your 3H alignment?”

If you are unsure how to answer, ask yourself if you are as happy or successful as you would like to be in your professional life. Depending on how you respond, you may need to make an adjustment to the three Hs.

A Holistic Formula to Live By


Head = Processes information (thoughts and feelings) in a way that only you understand, accept and appreciate.


Heart = Manages the things that you value the most and that you want to prioritize.


Hours = Divides your day among tasks that utilize your giftedness/talents.


Envision a line from the top of your head through your heart and ending at your wrist where your watch is keeping track of the minutes that pass. (If you are wearing a smartwatch, you are likely already monitoring the time you spend at rest or in motion.)

Put another way, a proper alignment of the three Hs should translate to success at work:

The head is holistic and non-linear.

The heart is for helping the vulnerable and feeling the satisfaction of being on a team.

The hours, finite like they are for everyone, are spent however we choose to spend them, but are they really?

 Reflect on the Career Choices That Brought You Where You Are Today

Early in my career as an institutional trader, my brain was forced to think narrow and linear. My heart tried hard but in vain to get excited about compounding a large bank’s capital pool. Consequently, I was spending my working hours doing something that left me feeling like something was missing from my workday.

After I realized it was time to move on, I joined a large broker-dealer. I saw some improvement in my work life where my head could think holistically about the interplay between people’s lives and their investments, estate planning, taxes and insurance. However, as an employee of a broker-dealer, I regretted that I was not a trusted fiduciary for clients. While I was somewhat happier and more successful than I had been as an institutional trader, I was not satisfied.

At the age of 41, I realigned again by setting up my own fee-only Registered Investment Advisor firm. The environment I created was much better, but I was a one-man shop. My head (and my heart) missed the opportunity to collaborate and commiserate with teammates, so I set out to find a team. My solo entrepreneur days ended in 2012, and I found a new story was ready to be written (really, lived).

I love my work as a financial advisor and partner building financial plans for people seeking to achieve their long-term financial goals. But it took me 26 years in various roles within the financial services industry to get here. Had I known all this when I was 22, I could have saved a lot of time and angst and better served the world.

My hours are finally balanced between my personal life and my professional life spent in a collegial team environment. As one of my colleagues has described it, we are a partnership of collaborative capitalists where clients come first.

Do not wait to ask yourself, “How is my 3H alignment?” If you already know the answer, that means you can focus right away on finding the formula that will lead you to a happy and successful life no matter the hour.

We help advisors establish and grow successful wealth management practices. To learn more about how we can help you amplify your life’s work, contact us at You can follow us on Twitter@theWAAlliance and on LinkedIn.

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