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5 New Year's resolutions for advisers

You can use resolutions to help you reach your goals

Jan 18, 2019 @ 10:47 am

By Sheryl Rowling

A new year has begun and most of us have the same goals: Add new clients. Make more money. Become more efficient. But these are not the same as resolutions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a resolution is "a firm decision to do or not do something." To reach your goals, specific resolutions must be accomplished. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest that each of you commit to at least one resolution for 2019.

I'm committing to the following five resolutions:

1. Schedule workouts. If I don't schedule exercise, it won't happen. This year, I've hired a personal trainer to come to the office for one hour Tuesday through Thursday. Since it's a good idea for everyone, training sessions are open to all employees. Thus, I've stacked the odds in favor of achieving this resolution. Workouts are scheduled, arranged and convenient — and there will be the added push of peer pressure!

2. Take immediate action on at least one idea from each conference. When I go to conferences, I often think, "That's a great idea." Yet when I get back to my routine, the great ideas seem to fade away. My resolution this year is to identify one idea from each event to implement immediately. Before leaving the conference, I decide on a first step and do it! For example, if I want to change to my website, I immediately schedule a meeting with my web designer. By acting right away, I ensure follow-up.

3. Utilize one new technology. Rather than jumping into a new technology, I start by identifying my biggest "pain point." I often ask myself what area of my practice is taking the most time or exposing the firm to the most risk. Once I've picked my No. 1 issue, I consider the best way to solve it — whether by purchasing new technology or more effectively using what we have. For example, in our "almost" paperless office, paper notes were causing inefficiencies. I bought each employee an iPad, connected them electronically to our server and now meeting notes are uploaded directly to Junxure. This year, I might tackle billing.

(More: 6 ways advisers can make 2019 their "prove it" year)

4. Set a team goal. Aligning rewards with team goals ensures buy-in from your staff. Determine your top goal and set a target for employees with a commensurate reward. So if you want to add $50 million in AUM, hang a progress poster in the break room and offer your employees a trip to Disneyland if they accomplish the goal by the end of the year.

5. Do some good. We enjoy a fulfilling career and earn a nice living. Make a commitment to give back in at least one way this year. Participate in a NAPFA or FPA volunteer opportunity, speak at your children's school, or collect toys for the holidays.

(More: Is pro bono work in your future?)

These resolutions are mine and I'm more than happy to have others choose the same ones. Of course, you can create your own. The important thing is to commit by making a firm decision!

(More: 5 easy social media resolutions for 2019)

Sheryl Rowling is head of rebalancing solutions at Morningstar Inc. and principal at Rowling & Associates.

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