Advisers find summer slowdown has become a thing of the past

Advisers worry about burning out as demands come in 24/7 and 365 days a year

Aug 7, 2017 @ 3:49 pm

By Liz Skinner

Summer isn't what it used to be, according to financial advisers.

June, July and August used to be slower months when clients vacationed and advisers would recharge themselves and their practices, completing long-term projects aimed at business development and other operational improvements.

But more and more, clients are hitting the beach and other destinations with iPads, laptops and mobile phones — and all of that out-of-office time gives them extra bandwidth to ponder their finances.

"Clients have been emailing all summer from their beach chairs, pounding us with questions about the markets and their accounts," said David Edwards, president of Heron Wealth.

While he welcomes all communications with clients, he said he's worried about burnout if summers don't offer advisers some catch-up time.

Burnout, which experts say is caused when people have too many job demands and not enough resources to help them perform their job, can cause physical and emotional exhaustion, and it causes the brain to work at less than optimal effectiveness.

The key to avoiding burnout is taking the time to recharge one's batteries, said Paula Davis-Laack, a stress and resilience expert.

(More: 9 strategies to avoid adviser burnout)

As a first step, she recommends advisers make a list of three things: job demands, resources that help motivate them about work (such as having high-quality connections with colleagues and support from leaders), and things they do that relax and re-energize them.

"That can provide an initial blueprint, where you evaluate which columns are a lot fuller than others," she said. "They don't have to be equal, but they should be similar."

Adviser Brandon Mackie of Henssler Financial agrees that summer isn't any slower than the rest of the year at his firm.

"If you're passionate about this profession, value the relationships you have with your clients and genuinely strive to do the very best whenever you're asked, you could very easily become consumed," Mr. Mackie said.

All his clients use mobile technologies, and they don't just use it to communicate with him while on summer vacation. He's had clients call or email him on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Sunday evenings, although most clients are much more respectful of his personal time.

He also preemptively asks clients about their expectations regarding contact and mentions 24-hour call back times.

(More: In the future, advisers will be at customers' beck and call)

For projects at the office, Mr. Mackie said he's learned to work on them for a short time, consistently.

"The focus is on routinely working on numerous projects rather than doing one thing from start to finish," he said. "It's very similar to saving for retirement, as in, save early and save often."

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