From the April 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Advisor, Understand Thyself

The emotional challenges faced by advisors during this time have taken their toll. Over the last couple of years, advisors needed to address their own emotional states, notes Keith Whitaker, PhD, President and Founder of Wise Counsel Research, who has considerable direct experience in working with wealthy families on their financial and personal issues. In his additional role of consultant to advisors, he has observed a growing need for them to gain balance in their lives with all of the pressures they encounter. He suggests that advisors pursue ongoing intellectual and emotional development as well as positive social networks made up of people who motivate them and allow them to remain determined even when facing adversity. "One of the things that I really had to work on with advisors was what kind of social environment they have created for themselves," he recalls. "If they're hanging out with other people who are saying, 'the world's going end, my business is failing, and I feel so bad about my clients'--that's not going to support their own resilience."

Whitaker also sees wealth advisors as needing to understand themselves and their inner drivers, as well as their clients'. "I think it's really critical to ask yourself the question: why do you want to work with wealthy people?" he notes. "Is it because you think it's 'cool'--do you want to be part of the posse? Is it because you think you can influence them toward the things that you believe in? Is it because you really enjoy the role of service? ...I think it's critical [to know the answer] in doing this kind of job well."

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