Global financial market volatility associated with the coronavirus has yielded anxious days and restless nights for investors and financial advisors since the last week of February. Many investors have reached out to their financial advisor for comfort, counsel and the opportunity to discuss their concerns about the growing health crisis. For advisors proactively contacting their clients, the act of making “just one more call” before the end of the day has the potential to wear down even the most resilient advisor.

Some might point to the recent market downturn as the obvious reason for the tension. On the contrary, financial advisors were stressed out long before the coronavirus appeared.

In the 2018 study “Insights Into Advisor Wellness,” financial advisors were surveyed over a period of 17 business days during which frequent market volatility was occurring. The survey found that advisors “reported an average stress level that was 23% higher than the national norms.”1 This survey result makes sense because advisors who experience stress during normal markets are likely to experience higher levels of stress in turbulent times when uncertainty lingers about when the market will recover.

Financial blogger Michael Kitces and New York Times “Sketch Guy” columnist Carl Richards discussed the topic of stress and work/life balance in one of the first episodes of the series “Kitces and Carl.” Kitces stated that self-care was required for advisors to remain healthy, sane and successful. Richards argued it was time to change our perception of personal time.

Richards said: “Time off, time outside, a nap. … Whatever it is for you, a walk. Let’s stop thinking about that stuff as a reward for doing good work and start thinking about it as a prerequisite for continuing to do the work. Because it is.”2


Seven Ways Financial Advisors Can Actively Work on Reducing Stress

Whether ensemble firm or sole proprietor, financial advisors need to take real steps toward managing stress now and going forward. Following are seven ways to reduce stress in the office and on the home front. When used in combination, they can have the desired effect of decreasing stress with the extra bonus of uniting people and creating a support network during difficult periods.


What to Do to Make It Through (Firm Based)

Connect with your network. When your clients need your support during difficult times, you are ready and willing to be their sounding board, coach and therapist. What remains in question is whether you are able to sustain the breakneck pace without having your own support system to rely on. Stay in touch with your network and don’t hesitate to connect with colleagues when you need to talk to someone who understands exactly what you are going through.

Take a walk. Financial Planning Association conducted a study in 2019 on how stress affects financial advisors and clients. The report noted: “Today it’s said that sitting is the new smoking. Plan to move regularly throughout the day.”3 If it is difficult for you to leave your desk, build in reasons to take a stroll that have purpose.

Feed the people. Hungry and nervous are a bad combination. If not bagels, donuts are a welcome sight the morning after a tough market close. When everyone is in the office, cater lunch for the team. A March 10 New York Times article cited Laszlo Bock, a top Silicon Valley executive in human resources who previously worked for Google. Bock commented on the community that builds when you cultivate office culture: “‘The reason tech companies have micro-kitchens and free snacks is not because they think people are going to starve between 9 a.m. and noon,’ he said. ‘It’s because that’s where you get those moments of serendipity.’” 4 When in doubt, order pizza.

Beat the traffic. You make sure to recharge your phone, focus on refreshing your team. Find optimal balance between being in the office and working remotely. Choose a day when it is feasible to close up early and instruct everyone to log out and leave the office before evening rush hour (when markets and deadlines permit). Families, dogs, houseplants and goldfish across the city will think of you fondly.


What to Do to Make It Through (Your Home Base)

Talk to your family and friends. Your family and friends are keenly aware when something is wrong, or that you are frustrated or unhappy. If you have held back from talking with your loved ones because you do not want to burden them, you may discover that they have been waiting for the chance to discuss what has been troubling you and immediately rally around you.

Focus on the breath. Meditation is not just trending. As a lifelong practice, meditation can help people find better ways to handle difficult situations and make positive behavioral changes. Meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace, hosted primarily by the ultra-calming voice of Andy Puddicombe, each have their own take on achieving balance through guided meditation. Headspace defines stress this way: “Between what is happening and what we want to happen is stress. Understanding that allows us to let it go.”

Take the weekend off. There are many ways to unwind after a stressful week, whether you enjoy quiet reflection or prefer to turn up the volume. Yoga versus boxing. Green tea or iced coffee with two shots of espresso. “The Crown” or “John Wick.” Take some time for yourself and do what makes you happy (in and around running errands, meeting obligations and getting ready for Monday).

Whatever you do to reduce your stress levels, give yourself enough time for these new mindsets and routines to become habits. The benefits are absolutely worth the effort.


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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1Insights Into Advisor Wellness (2018 Survey Results).” FlexShares, Accessed March 5, 2020.

2Kitces & Carl Ep 06: Building Resiliency for the Stress of Being a Financial Advisor.”, April 25, 2019.

3The War on Stress 2019” Financial Planning Association (in partnership with Janus Henderson Investors and Investopedia).

4 Kevin Roose, “Sorry, But Working From Home Is Overrated.New York Times, March 10, 2020.



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