1. Set boundaries, define work hours, be flexible.

I'm in the process of setting up my own RIA. After working with a firm for nearly 25 years and mentoring a team, I've developed a work style discipline that is hard to shake when focused. However I'm interested in a greater work/life balance so it is important to set boundaries. A few preliminary rules are commit to defined number of work hours, make sure family and friends understand work schedule and limited availability, and schedule in time to handle some family matters. — Tracy L. Sherwood, CFP, Senior Financial Advisor, Sherwood Financial Management, Clarence, New York

2. Family matters are always highest priority.

I designed my company to serve other young families, so it's important that my actions with my own family reflect the company's values. I structure my schedule and my services so that I'm available to pick up my son from school and attend all classes and practices. For example, I hold all of my client meetings over video chat at night, after I've put my kids to bed. — Kevin Mahoney, CFP, founder and CEO, Illumint, Washington D.C.

3. When on vacation, BE on vacation.

My team does a wonderful job of taking care of the clients’ needs and allows me freedom to be present and relax on vacation. The rule is not to call me when I am out. I also do not call my team when they are on vacation.

I went to Europe for a month with my daughter in June and did not call the office, watch the news or check my work email. When I am on vacation I make an effort to be present, and not have work interfere. I take family vacations, a ski vacation just by myself and don’t work on weekends.

Having these breaks allows me to put a full effort in when I am at work. — Christopher J. Olsen, CFP, RICP, private wealth advisor, Bridge Pointe Financial Group, Lodi, California

4. Work smarter. Use technology. Set hours and keep them.

I have been working from home as a financial advisor for over 20 years. During the early years of developing my practice, I did not have any work/life balance. I essentially worked all of the time.

However, from the beginning I would never take client calls or read emails after 6 p.m. However, I still would work (paperwork, etc) after 6 pm. Eventually, I began to feel burnout, so I stopped all work at 6 p.m.

With maturation in the business, I now work smarter. The utilization of technology has also afforded me the ability to work less and more efficiently. Working from home, I use to be tempted to sneak downstairs and work after the kids went to bed. I no longer have those temptations. I have found that if you give clients the perception that you are [always] open for business, they will take you up on that offer. — Jerry D. Murphy, CFP, JDM Financial & Investments, Bowie, Maryland

5. Carve out a space that is yours.

Get a door. Seriously. Carve out space that is strictly business. Don't let your kids come in and do their homework on your machine. Ignore your washing machine. Ignore the cookies calling your name. Invest in good noise-canceling headphones. Be deliberate about your family time. Forgive yourself when you slip. You will slip. Commend your family when they help you succeed. — DeDe M. Jones, CPA, CFP, managing director, Innovative Financial, Lakewood, Colorado


Work versus family and personal time is a time-honored scrum that often goes one way while the other gets left behind. Advisors, many who work from home offices or close to home, have it especially hard as not only do they deal with their own family, but other families, including friends, whose money they manage.

We asked Financial Planning Association members how they made sure they kept their business separate from family or playtime. It definitely is an uphill battle, especially when a business is first started, many lamented, but when rules are put in place, the division is easier to manage. Check out the gallery above to see their answers.

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