One of the most rewarding aspects of being a financial advisor – both financially, and psychologically – is forming deep relationships with clients that makes the advisor an indispensable resource that clients can depend on when needed. From the advisor’s ability to provide timely advice as needed, walk clients off the proverbial ledge in times of market volatility, or simply provide ongoing management of the client’s investment portfolio… success as an advisor with existing clients is all about being available to provide value if/when/as the clients may need.
Yet the challenge is that being under a constant state of “potential need” from clients makes it remarkably hard to ever get away from the business for a vacation, and especially for any kind of “extended” leave… including (and especially) maternity leave. Which in turn can become a deterrent for younger female financial advisors who want to someday start a family but are concerned about the consequences of wanting to step away for maternity leave in the future.
In this guest post, financial advisor Ashley Micciche shares her own story and perspective about how she was able to successfully step away from her practice and her clients for a collective 7 months over the span of 3 ½ years for two separate maternity leaves… from the steps she took in advance to prepare, the necessary infrastructure it takes to succeed (or at least make it easier), the benefits of a recurring revenue (e.g., AUM or fee-based) business model to help support the process, how the maternity leave plans were communicated to clients, and why it’s so crucial to set ground rules with both clients and staff to make maternity leave work.
Ultimately, the end result was that, while Ashley did experience a setback in growth of the firm – as time away from the office is still time lost that could have been spent doing business development, and clients rarely provide referrals while the advisor won’t even be there to receive them – clients not only didn’t leave while Ashley was out on maternity leave, but were actually remarkably supportive of her personal journey along the way!
In fact, Ashley makes the case that there are few professions better than financial planning to support starting a family and that allows the flexibility and freedom to step away for a period of time while still being able to control your business and income in the long run!