Outside voices and views for advisers

Stress and health: A case study for advisers

Putting the relationship between stress and health into clear perspective for advisers

Apr 17, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

By Jack Singer

Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, puts the relationship between stress and health into clear perspective: “A critical shift in medicine has been the recognition that many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused by or made worse by stress.”


Steven decided to take educational courses to prepare himself for a career in the financial advice business. He obtained the required licenses and was excited about the possibility of providing a wonderful life for his family.

He soon became completely devoted to his advising career, to the detriment of his family, but it was hard to slow down with the money pouring in. By now, Steve had many stressors (common to the advice profession) pouring in on him. Steve:

• was burning the candle at both ends;

• got out of bed exhausted each morning, feeling like he was heading off to battle;

• was reluctant to delegate any responsibilities, contributing to the overwork that was leading to a breakdown in his immune system;

• demanded perfection from himself and his staff and was being impatient with anyone who wouldn't comply;

• micromanaged everyone and everything;

• excessively worried about making mistakes with clients' money;

• gave himself little or no time for exercise;

• ate an unhealthy diet

It wasn't long before Steve's stress kicked the health out of him and he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, requiring surgery and, ultimately, three months of intensive treatment, which afforded him a remarkable learning experience. This unplanned absence from his job forced him to make some dramatic changes in both his life and job. He had plenty of time to contemplate, meditate and reflect about both his lifestyle and work style and what led up to his cancer diagnosis. He read several books addressing the relationship between stress and illness.


Steve began his recovery by taking the “risk” to delegate many responsibilities to the wonderful business team that he that he put together. “I realized that my work/life balance was unbalanced, I had become a slave to building the business…and I neglected good quality home time and time for me, and I even neglected my health.”

When he returned to work, Steve continued making changes that would ultimately help his team and himself:

• Rewarding employees not only with financial incentives, but with paid days off;

• Dramatically lightening his workload and diligently took a day off in the middle of the week to go sailing;

• Making a plan, with goals, so that he could retire with enough wealth in the next seven years;

• Referring each and every one of his “difficult clients,” focusing on the rest and accumulating enough wealth to actually retire at 55

Steve's health rebounded and people close to him remarked that he had become a much nicer person.


Take care of your emotional health by taking care of your physical health. Develop and maintain healthy habits, such as:

• Build a team around you of people you can trust to run your practice in your absence;

• Delegate as much work as possible and give yourself a planned break during the week;

• Recognize that lightening your workload and focusing on your favorite clients will not dramatically cut into your income;

• Keep your blood sugar low with frequent, smaller meals, including protein;

• Eat light at night;

• Get ample sleep;

• Load up on antioxidant-rich foods;

• Avoid alcohol and tobacco

• Keep your weight in the normal range for your age and height

Jack Singer is a professional clinical/sport psychologist and professional speaker/trainer, primarily for financial professionals. He is the author of “The Financial Advisor's ULTIMATE Stress Mastery Guide.”


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Sponsored financial news

Advisers on the Move

Upcoming Event

Apr 30


Retirement Income Summit

Join InvestmentNews at the 12th annual Retirement Income Summit - the industry's premier retirement planning conference.Much has changed - and much remains to be learned. Attend and discuss how the future is full of opportunity for ... Learn more

Featured video


The #MeToo movement and the financial advice industry

Attendees at the Women to Watch luncheon commend the #MeToo movement for raising awareness about the issue of sexual harassment and bringing women together.

Latest news & opinion

Stocks plunge, advisers tell clients to hang tight

Though planners encourage calm, some are preparing investors for a correction.

Lightyear Capital's Donald Marron said to be in the hunt for Cetera Financial Group

The veteran brokerage executive, who bought Advisor Group in 2016, owned Cetera once before.

What to watch for next with the DOL fiduciary rule

Much hinges on whether the Labor Department appeals the 5th Circuit decision by April 30.

Social Security benefits losing buying power

Low inflation combined with rising Medicare costs threaten the adequacy of seniors' income.

Finra looks to streamline broker-dealer exams

CEO Robert Cook says three examination teams may be consolidated.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print