The Stress of Giving Financial Advice

by Byron on November 4, 2011

When you are in training to be a financial advisor, they don’t tell you something very important.  Being a steward of other people’s money is stressful.  Telling someone what to do with their currency for quality of life, with their life savings gathered from a career toiling away at this or that, is not an easy thing to do.  Even if you know what is prudent for a client to do, or the hundred reasons why or why not, giving advice of that nature is hard.

If you don’t understand the gravity of what you’re doing, you’re either stupid, dishonest, or disassociated.  Either way, you probably shouldn’t be managing money or giving financial advice.

Considering there are plenty of good, well adjusted, intelligent, and honest financial advisors, it is capable to work through the stress of giving people advice.

  1. I am going to be wrong sometimes.  As long as I have done the best possible job I can do, and have made the client aware of the risks, I have done enough.
  2. Perfection is not possible.
  3. I will have to call people and tell them I was wrong.

Now that I recognize this stuff, I don’t have to get paralyzed by it.  Of course, it makes it easier when clients say things like, “No one has explained it like that before.  Thank you.”

I have an extremely high ceiling for comprehension of information and application of that information to a particular situation.  I also have the inability to bullshit someone*.  When I talk to clients, I need to be able to speak intelligently about a variety of financial related topics.  This means I need to spend a lot of time reading and absorbing information.

In all, I just need to figure out what my best is and do that.  That’s enough.

*Of course I have the ability to bullshit people – I’m a lawyer.  But when it comes to clients, I cannot bullshit whatsoever.  I can’t live with myself if my integrity isn’t 100%.

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