By David B Partain
Head of Marketing
FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds
“A whopping 93% of financial advisors report medium to high levels of stress…including intrusive thoughts and images, sleep difficulty, feeling numb, attempts to stop thinking about or getting upset about it, and waves of strong feelings.”
This line, written by Carl Richards in Morningstar Magazine, made us feel stressed out just reading it. Richards’ data, taken from a 2012 study in The Journal of Financial Therapy, measured the stress experienced by financial planners in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. We came across this article in 2017 and wondered whether stress levels had declined as the post-crisis bull market continued.
To get answers, FlexShares conducted our inaugural Advisor Wellness Survey in December 2017, the findings of which indicated that stress experienced by advisors was still exceptionally high -- 25% higher than the national average. We followed up with a survey in October 2018 based on the overwhelming feedback we received from advisors on the topic. Despite the much different market backdrops during the two periods – relative stability in 2017 and high volatility and a declining market in 2018 – all of the baseline responses remained consistent. Surprisingly, the 2018 survey revealed that while advisors were still much more stressed than the national average, their relative stress levels fell to 23.3% in 2018 as markets declined, from 25% a year earlier in a rising market.
Beyond these stress statistics, the study dug deep on a wide variety of other financial advisor stress and wellness issues. Over the coming weeks we’ll be providing insights into what we learned. We’ll also offer strategies to consider to enhance wellness, for you personally and or those within your office. We believe that understanding the barriers to wellness in the workplace has never been more important. A majority of advisors are now in their 50s and may be thinking of retirement in the next decade. To make that a reality, we will need to attract a more diverse and younger group of advisors to take the reins and move our industry forward.
Our Advisor Wellness series will provide ideas to consider that may help you reduce your stress levels. We hope to also provide thoughts on what you can do to create a more healthy work environment – that may help you to better attract and retain employees. Visit our Advisor Wellness page to access an interactive view of our latest findings.