Is Meaningful Time Off Truly Possible for Financial Advisors?

Jun 23, 2023 | Blog Posts

Time off is critical to our wellbeing as humans. Research consistently shows that people who take time to rest are more productive and engaged at work. But clients aren’t always comfortable when financial advisors step away — especially in today’s economy.  

So how can you navigate the tightrope walk of taking meaningful time off? 

1. Be firm in your commitment to your wellbeing

Despite what’s happening in the economy, your quality of life is important. Time off is good for your health. 

One study from Kitces Research found that advisors who reported low quality-of-life scores took about 15 vacation days each year and worked about 43 hours per week. Meanwhile, advisors with a high quality of life reported taking 29 vacation days each year and working 38 hours per week.

Unwinding is an important part of life. When you’re relaxed, the people around you — especially your clients — will benefit from the improvements to your mood, sense of peace, and improved focus. 

“Research shows that vacations are anything but a waste of time,” write Belle Liang, Ph.D., and Tim Klein, LCSW for Psychology Today. “They improve both mental and physical health, they boost job performance and creativity. They even strengthen social relationships. Ultimately, people who vacation tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives.”

Just as you ask clients to commit to their goals, it’s important to commit to yours.

2. Communicate expectations in advance

From the moment that you begin working with clients, it’s important to establish healthy boundaries. That means being upfront about your plans to take time off.

“The key to letting clients know about vacation absences, like managing working hours, revolves around communication and setting expectations,” explains the Kitces team. “It is 100% okay for advisors to plan a vacation and tell their clients that they will be unavailable for a few days, a full week, or whatever period the advisor will be gone.”

The Kitces team points to 3 specific ways that advisors can constructively navigate time off discussions with clients:

  • New client orientations and onboarding. Establish expectations for how many vacations you plan to take in a year.
  • Provide reminders to clients during regular check-in calls. Give your clients enough lead time to mentally prepare for your absence — be sure to share when specific details will be available regarding out of office dates.
  • Include your out of office plans in regularly scheduled emails. These communications are valuable touchpoints to prepare clients and provide direction for who to contact in your absence.

Assure clients that their best interests will be fully taken care of, even in your absence. Help them manage expectations and anticipate your absence.

3. Establish a business continuity plan

Emergencies happen. Clients may have urgent requests or questions. Of course, the world does not stop, even when you are taking time away from work. One way to provide peace of mind is to have a business continuity plan in place.

There are a few suggested steps to take:

  • Work with an administrative professional to help field, prioritize, and manage questions in your absence
  • If you’re employed at a firm with multiple advisors, ask one of your colleagues to provide client coverage 
  • If you’re an independent advisor, team up with a fellow solo practitioner to provide coverage in your absence

Be sure that your clients know exactly who to contact, to instill a sense of trust and confidence. Your out of office responder is a great place to articulate this information.

Empower your operational foundation

Stepping away can feel tough, but keep in mind that your business operations can do the heavy lifting for you. Implementing a client portal or branded app, for instance, can help field questions and connect clients with answers. It’s about instilling trust ahead of time, throughout the days of the year that you are available for conversations and emails.

Advisor-client relationships are about the long-term, after all.

About CircleBlack

CircleBlack is an all-in-one technology platform for relationship-focused financial advisors. To learn how our software can help you build, manage, and grow your wealth management practice, get in touch to request a demo.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.

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