Kobus Kleyn has published over 200 articles and authored three books. He is a multiple award-winning professional and holds eight memberships with professional associations. His most recent awards were lifetime achievements awards from the FPI (Harry Brews), The Million Dollar Round Table (Top of the Table Life Membership) and Liberty Group (Life Membership) in 2021/22.
As financial professionals in a noble profession, we must change people’s lives for the better while we, consequently, improve our lives too.
In the process, we take care of clients and their families. Taking care of families through their life cycles and during life-changing events can be emotional for us as professionals and our staff.
Financial advisors are, in most cases, significantly more stressed than their clients. According to a study by the Financial Planning Association, 63% of clients experience high or moderate stress, while 71% of advisors admit to being stressed.
Stress levels year on year are increasing, with 28% of advisors having more stress than a year ago and 44% having more than five years ago. The same questions indicate lower stress levels for clients. The pandemic has played a significant role in advisor stress levels, and there is no doubt that advisors’ health was impacted. Issues like global inflation, market volatility, the new digital virtual world and the cost of running a practice are not helpful.
When clients or family members pass away or have a disability or critical illness, it can bring raw emotions to the front and we, as advisors, have to take it all in while staying calm and focused on ensuring we take care of our fiduciary duties in support of the family when most needed. In the last 30 months many of us lost more clients, than during our whole time in our profession.
A close bond will form if you have been a custodian of a client’s financial plan and servant for 20 years. If something were to happen to the client or family, you cannot avoid being impacted by the emotions. That conversation during an ugly divorce, a chat about teenage children involved with drugs or the loss of a family member or job will bring emotions and stress to you, your client and your staff. The question that comes to mind is, while you take care of your clients, who is taking care of you? What can you do to ensure self-care? If you do not take care of yourself, you may not be there long enough to keep taking care of your clients!
Apart from the emotional part of our profession, many professionals work very long hours in a most challenging profession to build a sustainable practice while achieving minimum qualification and experience, with the most severe financial constraints and income restrictions. If the stress and emotional aspects are not controlled, it can be a disaster waiting to happen with our health and practice survival. We have to mitigate these danger areas by working towards a balanced lifestyle.
Fortunately, the pandemic had some silver linings as well and the major one to me is that it pulled the digital virtual world forward by five to 10 years. It did the same with technology and allowed us to create hybrid practices. Concepts like #workingfromhome, #workingfromanywhere and even #workingfromtravel became the new buzzwords. It is now in our hands as entrepreneurs to embrace these concepts where possible to mitigate stress levels by removing some negative stress items (office politics and traffic) and replacing them with positives like a tranquil scenery, more family time, better working hours and efficiency to name but a few, while reducing overheads and financial stress on the practice and family.
Find ways and means to take care of yourself through ongoing initiatives to allow you to keep taking care of your clients and our profession. It is important to identify stress issues, control what can be controlled and do not stress about matters outside of your control. Once you have recognised these stresses, you can manage, plan and organise around them in your practice. It is critical to work on the whole person concept and always embrace a balanced lifestyle with a positive attitude. It is about mindset, mindfulness and the pursuit of happiness in your and your family’s lives. “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness” – anonymous.