Prioritizing your goals answers a lot of questions, clarifies career focus, and, if done honestly, aligns everyone’s interests.
I’ve talked a lot about benchmarking and business models. The goal has been to give A4A readers a sense of how they can apply financial planning processes to their own careers.
The question is what you want to do with those tools.
When was the last time you took a step back and imagined your ideal career?
Maybe you see yourself playing golf with generations of adoring clients whom you’ve rescued from terrible investment strategies.
Or maybe it’s all about running a thriving independent business, either as a solo operator or as the center of a team of like-minded advisors.
For some, there’s probably a strong element of fighting the good fight to clean up an industry that’s still riddled with abusive sales practices and less-than-flattering client outcomes.
And there’s nothing wrong with looking for a healthy income along the way.
Needless to say, most of us have complex motivations, with aspects of one flowing into the other. But for right now, just concentrate on the one that resonates most strongly with you.
If it’s your dream, embrace it. That’s the first step.
This is your career and your life we’re talking about -- if it doesn’t fulfill you, it’s not part of the solution.
Now let’s do an inventory of your practice, piece by piece. What parts of the job move you toward your goal, which actively get in the way, and which are neutral at best?
As this inventory process plays out, you might discover that your practice is actually oriented more toward some other goal entirely. It happens!
Provided you’ve been honest with yourself at the goal-setting stage, it’s usually easier to realign your practice than to settle for a career that won’t make you authentically happy.
(High turnover in the industry isn’t so much due to highly motivated advisors washing out as it is advisors chasing the wrong motivations and burning out.)
Naturally, every advisor also has a bucket list of things he or she would like to add to the practice in order to align it more closely to the ultimate goal.
Once upon a time, everyone in the industry was a one-person orchestra: relationship manager, investment guru, office administrator, marketing chief.
Nowadays, the bottom line is that any facet of the job that you’re not especially good at can be unbundled from your core practice and sourced from someone else.
This means that if you want to add some level of service to your platform, there’s probably a partner out there who can give it to you and your clients.
And as I’ve been saying, relationships now come in all flavors.
We all have more options than the one-to-one captive rep arrangement nowadays.
For now, though, if you haven’t revisited your goals and lined them up to your day-to-day practice lately, why don’t you do so?
Why did you get into this business in the first place?
Has anything changed?
There are no wrong answers.