The start of any New Year is rife with uncertainty for advisors. It’s a fresh start, and any number of market shifts or industry changes could transform how you do business, for better or for worse.
You have a clean slate to work from, yes, but you have outside pressures of people that count on you, from your staff to your family. They look to you for direction and for leadership.
2016 is no different. With game-changing legislation (the DOL fiduciary rule) on the horizon and an election year coming up, there is a lot to consider. At this point, however, the potential of these changes is not yet completely clear.
Even though we don’t know what will happen, many advisors are already quite concerned about what might happen. Those feelings are amplified by the burden advisors often feel to be a leader as well as a provider.
We don’t yet have the information we need to create a specific plan for everything that 2016 might hold, but you can already start to prepare by thinking critically about your mindset. When it comes to obstacles and challenges, in general, how do you approach them? Do you go on the offensive to seek out the opportunity in the chaos or do you sit back and wait for the dust to settle?
The safest path might feel like the latter option: buckling down and waiting for every unknown to shake itself out so that you can look at the big picture with absolute clarity. It feels like it has the lowest risk. After all, if you aren’t making big moves (as the thinking goes), you are less likely to expose your business to harm. Big mistake. We can look back to a classic lesson from John D. Rockefeller to understand why.
According to Ryan Holiday’s account in his book The Obstacle is the Way, Rockefeller was given $500,000 by investors to invest in oil wells at the height of an oil boom. Rockefeller, however, gave them their money back, saying that the opportunity didn’t feel right. The oil boom crashed, and then boomed, and then it crashed, and then it boomed again.
Within 20 years, Rockefeller controlled 90 percent of the oil market because he saw opportunity in what others considered to be disasters, investing when the market was in turmoil and staying levelheaded when the market soared. Rockefeller kept his wits about him and looked to adversity to bring him opportunity.