Plenty of financial advisors cope with stress badly, don’t sleep enough, don’t eat right, seldom exercise, rarely unwind. Is this any way to perpetually do battle in the competitive financial services arena? Certainly not. Time to send in wellness coach Julie Wald, who discusses the pressing need for self-care in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.
First, lose that old-hat image of wellness as a pursuit of only hippie-dippy folks. Wellness went mainstream nearly 20 years ago. In fact, today it is a $4.2 trillion global industry.
Customized wellness plans are like financial plans, says Wald, founder-CEO of Namaste New York, who crafts them for clients: With either plan, simply wishing won’t make it so because reaching goals takes work.
Instead of striving for wellness, many financial advisors, and others, try to manage stress with digital-device addiction; “binging for five hours on Netflix,” as Wald puts it; or resorting to unhealthy habits like heavy drinking and excessive recreational drug use.
According to Wald, 46, wellness — “a major marker for people’s level of health, happiness and satisfaction,” she says — has four components. In the interview, she discusses them and her approach to working with clients to achieve a state of desired wellness.
Twenty-five years ago, Wald was a clinical social worker simultaneously teaching yoga and meditation. She and husband Michael Wald founded Namaste in 2003, two years after they began helping Wall Street FAs suffering from high anxiety following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.
Today, serving executives, celebrities and athletes, the firm has about 100 corporate clients too, including “some of the most conservative [financial] institutions on the planet,” Wald says, noting how wellness has gone mainstream.
One of her services is contracting with firms for their FAs to recommend Namaste to prospects and clients as a value-add.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Wald — finishing a book, “Inner Wealth” (Scribe Media), slated to be published this winter — on the phone from her New York City office. She talked about “inner wealth” vs. “outer wealth” and how employee wellness programs can make firms healthier.
Here are highlights of our conversation:
THINKADVISOR: Your upcoming book is titled “Inner Wealth.” What’s inner wealth?
JULIE WALD: It’s very important, of course, to have external resources, like financial resources, strategically planned to, hopefully, create outer wealth, so to speak. Inner wealth is about creating a feeling of abundance from the inside out. It’s about feeling mentally, physically and emotionally in a growing, expansive place. You can have a lot of money — but if you’re a mess, it doesn’t matter.
What’s the definition of wellness?
Wellness is where health care ends and a state of physical and mental well-being begins. It’s a major marker for people’s level of health, happiness and overall satisfaction in their lives.
Is wellness about disease prevention?
It’s a component of preventive health care to the extent that it deals with stress levels, sleep, fitness, nutrition. All those greatly impact our ability to prevent disease because they enable us to proactively cultivate health and well-being.
What goes into a wellness plan?
The process is very similar to what someone might go through with a financial advisor in making a financial plan. So, it’s not just having a goal and wishing. If, for example, you want to leave an inheritance to your children and don’t have a plan for how you’re going to achieve that, you’re just wishing. Same with your health and wellness. You need a plan.
What are the chief facets of wellness?