What It Means to be an Advisor
By Roger Nusbaum, AdvisorShares ETF Strategist
Outside Online took a skeptical look at the burgeoning happiness industry. The “industry” is comprised of things like seminars, books and other sorts of programs that can be very expensive all aimed at helping people figure out how to be happy.
I think a big part of happiness is having purpose in what you do for work. Where you might spend 40 or 60 or more hours of your week for 2/3 to 3/4 of your life, it might contribute to happiness if you can enjoy that thing you spend so much time doing.
What did you want to do when you were a kid? No matter your answer, even that dream job (professional athlete for me) has its ups and downs, so people need to accept that reality but even with downswings I would hope people would figure out how to find purpose in what they do which will enhance the sense of happiness.
Working as an investment advisor or other type of financial professional provides the opportunity for such fulfillment and happiness. While the work can have its ups and downs, working as an advisor affords the opportunity to truly help people.
Help can come in several forms. On its face the job of an advisor is to help clients financially prepare for some big life event, typically retirement. This usually involves engaging in capital markets and a few other things such that when the client gets there they can live the lifestyle they realistically expect. Part of that equation is helping them prepare for not being financially able to live the lifestyle they realistically expect; someone living a $100,000 lifestyle before retirement won’t be able to do that in retirement with only a $300,000 nest egg.
A huge part of how advisors help people is by steering them away from financially destructive behaviors like panic selling after a large decline or putting 25% of their assets in Bitcoin or a lottery-ticket biotech stock. Fear and greed are powerful motivators and anytime an advisor helps prevent a client from succumbing to those emotions they are providing tremendous value.
Invariably, if you’re an advisor you field all sorts of financial or market questions socially or at family functions. I had three different Bitcoin conversations at Christmas dinner at my in-laws. I’ve had conversations with half of my nieces/nephews over the years about how to get started in their 401ks. I’ve had similar 401k conversations with a couple of guys at the fire department. Friends on Facebook reach out all the time in this capacity. Blogging is itself a way to help people. There is no way for a blogger to take on every reader as a client, not even a fraction of them, assuming readers had that interest, but someone who reads your content is trying to learn something and if they are a repeat reader then chances are they have learned something from your content in the past.
Many years ago, a colleague asked would I rather be a portfolio manager or a blogger. My answer then was the same then as it is today, they are both intertwined and a part of who I have become. I would include my involvement as a volunteer firefighter, going on 15 years, as intertwined into who I have become.
While the above maybe just pertains to advisors, another fulfilling aspect of working in capital markets that might be broader in scope is the extent to which markets provide the opportunity to learn new things. However much or little you know about Bitcoin today, it is a whole lot more than you knew a year ago. Being able to learn keeps things interesting which leads to fulfillment.
This probably reads like I am equating professional fulfillment with overall happiness but a better way to frame it would be that professional fulfillment contributes to overall happiness along with being happy at home, generally healthy and having other endeavors (like volunteer firefighting) to derive enjoyment from.
The most important part of this is truly believing it. Only you know what you truly believe and maybe it is a process to get to the point of truly believing it but there is no faking fulfillment and happiness.
The information, statements, views, and opinions included in this publication are based on sources (both internal and external sources) considered to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. Such information, statements, views and opinions are expressed as of the date of publication, are subject to change without further notice and do not constitute a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any investment referenced in the publication.