If you think financial advisors spend all day golfing, you need a new advisor.
Rendering financial advice is challenging and it takes a competent and intelligent professional (who is supported by a team of competent and intelligent professionals) to do the job right. An advisor cannot stay at the top of their craft by polishing up their golf game. Let’s take a look at a typical day in the life of an advisor.
Most days begin with preparing for the day ahead by catching up on the capital markets. We read the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Bloomberg (you name it). We watch CNBC or Fox Business. We listen to podcasts and radio news reports, keep track of the latest international and domestic news and receive additional special reports via email subscription. These reports run the gamut, but typically offer deep dives into sub-sectors of the economy with analyses and charting for the advisor to interpret. This continues throughout the day and an advisor must take all this information, interpret it and share what’s relevant with their clients. These points of information color and shape our recommendations.
When we arrive at the office, we focus first on priority items for our team. We have to place trades, coordinate distributions and answer the most pressing questions or requests that our clients have. So many items that we deal with are extremely time sensitive. We have to work with our support team to ensure these tasks are completed timely and without errors.
Then we shift our focus to ensuring that we are well prepared for any meetings we have that day, or in the next few days, or weeks. Oftentimes, we must prepare days or weeks in advance to have a productive and successful meeting with our clients. Meetings around a business sale, real estate transactions, budgeting, insurance planning, or creating and implementing a financial plan take a substantial amount of diligence and preparation. If a meeting is going to cover several of these topics, the preparation necessary is substantial and time-intensive.
A large portion of our day is spent in client or prospective client meetings. I enjoy this part of my day the most because I am spending it with my client. We spend so much time learning about our clients’ families, their aspirations and the things that keep them up at night. We can’t help but care deeply about our clients the more time we spend with them. Our meetings usually start with catching up and then we shift to the topic(s) at hand. We give our very best advice in these meetings as we connect with our clients.
Advisors also make/receive phone calls, work on emails and then we take extensive notes on all of it. These notes are saved in the client’s folder and used to implement our advice. It takes a lot of teamwork to implement the advice we render. We spend a lot of time working with our internal support team and with our teams at places like Schwab. We also work with insurance agents (life, disability insurance, property and casualty), mortgage brokers, real estate agents, bankers, attorneys and accountants all to ensure that our clients are taken care of.
At the end of the day, no matter what we are working on, we are focused on improving the financial lives of our clients.
Drake A. Qualls