Last fall, Kitces Research published its first study measuring how financial advisors actually spend their time. The analysis revealed that advisors in the aggregate work an average of about 43 hours per week… yet when we asked about the time they spend on all the various task that they have to accomplish during the week, the total came out to a whopping 52 hours, suggesting that perhaps we’re far more buried in our work than we realize. Yet that shouldn’t be terribly surprising, since humans tend to be notoriously bad about making aggregate estimates, like the amount of time we spend looking at our phones or the number of calories we take in on any given day.
In our eighth episode of “Kitces & Carl”, Michael Kitces and financial advisor communication guru Carl Richards sit down to discuss how financial advisors are spending their time, strategies that can help advisors focus more on what they’re best at… and what might be accomplished by increasing your business (and personal) efficiency in the first place.
For instance, despite being a business that’s all about serving clients, a deep dive into the data reveals that advisors actually only spend about 20% of the time meeting with clients. Which could mean that, despite all the great technology that’s come online in recent years, it hasn’t accomplished its most important task: to actually reduce the time we spend on all the other things that we do when we aren’t sitting across the desk from our clients. As in practice, beyond the 20%-time in client meetings, advisors still spend significant time on such activities as meeting prep and follow-up (30%), business development (20%), and investment management (11%)… with the remaining time being spent on operations, professional development, and various administrative duties.
Of course, there are some challenges around spending more than 20% of your time with clients (since we tend to reach our mental capacity once we’re serving somewhere between 100-150 clients in the first place, and clients will only meet “so many” times per year), there’s still an opportunity to get better at spending more time at the things that only we can do, and handing off the remaining responsibilities for those tasks that don’t need our unique expertise, to begin with. Because the reality is that the chances that we’re really good at all those “other” things that take up the majority of our time as advisors are about zero anyway! In fact, the data shows that when advisors have someone they can delegate tasks to (e.g., a paraplanner or associate advisor), they have (on average) 64% more clients and have 80% more take-home pay than advisors that don’t… simply due to the fact that they end out using the extra time to spend with more clients!
Ultimately, though, we do still need to ask ourselves, “to what end?” Do we really want to become so efficient and have so many clients that we can’t even remember who they are when we meet with them? Or instead, is perhaps the point of greater efficiency less about doing more stuff, and more about spending time on things that are important to us instead? In other words, we spend so much energy and time helping our clients find their “why” and focus on what matters most to them… so maybe we should do the same for ourselves, too.
And so, the question becomes: if you’re spending 20% of your time as an advisor serving your clients, what would you do if you could free up more of the other 80%?
***Editor's Note: Can't get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we've released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
Kitces & Carl Video Transcript
Carl: Greetings. Carl Richards here and this is another episode. We're going to go with episode eight of "Kitces & Carl." Michael, how are you?
Michael: I'm doing well for a moment. I thought you were actually going to say, "Greetings, Carl," to me. I'm like, "No, you're Carl. I'm Michael." Greetings, Carl, greetings.
Carl: No, greetings to the people.
Michael: Greetings, people.
Carl: Yes, yes, assuming that anybody other than you and I and our wives...well, my wife definitely doesn't watch this, but assuming anybody...
Michael: My wife does not watch it either. She hears me talk enough when she has to deal with me in person, she does not go on to the internet to watch me talk shop more after sitting next to me all the time.
Carl: Right. Amen. Amen. So, episode eight. Today, we're going to talk about time, and you have put together this big, old, huge research piece, study, survey, inclusions about how advisors spend their time. This is one of my favorite subjects, because I find that we are all such liars about how we...
Michael: How are we liars? That's...
Carl: ...how we spend our time. You think you're working. You're not really working. Let's talk about this. So let's just start at the top. I have all sorts of questions.
How Advisors Spend Their Time [01:27]
Carl: And particularly about the reaction you've gotten and what was most interesting to you, but for me, the top line number was interesting to me, 53 hours a week.
Michael: Yeah. So, to give people a little context, because even this hours per week that advisors spend was interesting, so we did this study on how advisors spend their time. We just surveyed a zillion advisors and literally asked them how they spend their time. And so there were two interesting things that came from this, even sort of the top line. The first thing we asked them was, "How much time do you spend working every week? What's your average work week? Do you work 30 hours a week, 40 hours a week, 50 hours a week, 60 hours a week? Just put in your number." Then we asked them, "So break this down for us a little. How much time do you spend in these various tasks?" So we gave them like a bunch of different items like, "How much time do you spend doing meeting prep? How much time do you spend on all those one-off planning questions that clients ask you, 'We're going to analyze stuff?' How much time do you actually spend on client meetings? How much time do you spend with prospecting meetings? How much time do you spend on the investment stuff?"
So we gave them all of these different categories, about eight or nine in total, had them put in how many hours a week they spend on each on average, and then we added them back up. And so, first of all, as we'll talk about more, seeing that breakdown of where advisors spend time is really interesting, and we got some interesting numbers for it. But the other striking part of it was simply when we asked out advisors to estimate how much time in a week they spend working, the average was about 43 hours. And then when we asked them to talk about all of the things they do and added it up, it added up to 53 hours, instead of 43 hours. Now, we expected a little bit of slippage here. There are some things we sort of round off maybe when we're averaging that sort of slushed together, but it was kind of striking that I...I don't know, I think maybe we're buried a little bit more in our work that we realize by the time you add all of it up, and there's just a lot of stuff there. So we said we work 40 to 45, but when you add it up, it's more like 50 to 55.
Carl: Yeah. This reminds me a bit of when we...my wife tricked me, like legitimately tricked me into selling our TV about 17 years ago, it was right after March Madness. Like conveniently, there was a garage sale scheduled for some time in April, it was right after March Madness. You can guess that the TV had been on a lot during March Madness. Why do we sell the TV? And I was thinking, "Oh, bigger TV," right? And after we sold the TV, I come back in and the furniture's been completely reorganized, and there's no place for a TV anymore. Anyway, the point of the story is I would tell everybody, people would ask like, "Did you guys see that show?" I'd be like, "No, we don't have a TV," for the first couple of years, back when TV was a thing, right? And I would say to people like, "Oh, it's crazy. Did you know the average family watches, whatever?" It was like the Nielsen ratings thing said that the TV was on like six hours a night or seven hours a night, and every single person I told, everyone, would say, "Ah, we watch like a half an hour." And I was like, "Well, wait, there is something missing." If we average...
Michael: Where are other people who watch it like 14 hours a day that average out with your 30 minutes to get us to this average of 6 or 7 hours?
Carl: Yeah. So when you have these numbers that don't match up, it's just human. It's not you and I picking on advisors. It's just a human thing where we're actually not particularly good at this. There's a lot we could talk about, but I'm actually mostly curious, what did you find the most interesting?
Michael: So there were a couple of things that jumped out at me about the study, some of which sort of made sense in context and some of which, frankly, you had like a lot of media coverage and discussion on. So probably the biggest one that got the most attention and the most buzz was, what we found at the end of the day is the typical advisor only spends about 20% of their time actually meeting with clients... 20%.
Carl: And that's the number that Bowen would point to as the predicator of whether or not you're a really top performing advisor spend.
Carl: Right. Bulk of their job.
Michael: And the obsession, all of the obsession with industry tech is like all this tech and automation is supposed to free up all of our back office time so we can spend all of this time with clients. Well, apparently, our technology still mostly sucks because it takes us 80% of our time to do the non-client-facing stuff. So I was struck by this. And when there's all this discussion of how can we add more technology and artificial intelligence to automation, robos, and all these things to automate our back office more so we can spend more time with clients, the cynical version of me says, "We got a lot of that technology already, and apparently, it's not doing much of anything for us. We're still only 20% client-facing time." But then the other part of me looks at that and says, "Well, I guess the good news is we've got some awesome technology coming, because there's a giant time gap left that can be solved by this."
Should Advisors Really Spend More Than 20% Of Their Time Meeting With Clients? [07:15]
But here's the other way that I looked at this as well, where thinking about this from the advisor end, I'm actually not so certain this number is that crazy in the first place. So, if you start sort of doing the math to this, so if your client meetings are like an hour or an hour and a half a week, sorry, an hour to an hour and a half of meeting, you're doing like six to nine client meetings every week. That would be 20% time. Over the span of a year, 50 weeks worth of meeting, taking a couple of weeks off, you're doing 300 to 400 meetings a year. Which means, even if you got 100 to 150 clients, you would see every client 3 times a year. I actually don't know a lot of advisors with 100+ clients who even manage to see their clients 3 times a year. So when I think about it from that end, this number doesn't actually seem so crazy. It seems really realistic. If you're going to have about 100 clients that you're actively engaged with, and you're going to meet with them a few times a year, 2, 3, 4 times a year, you're going to end out with 300 or 400 meetings, and it actually only takes about 20% of your week amortized across the year to do that many client meetings. If you wanted to do more, if you wanted to spend 50% time when your meetings are only so long, you'd have 300 clients. Which I guess from a productivity end, some experts could be like, "That's awesome, 300 clients." But I'm thinking about that from my end, I'm like, "My God, that's a lot of people to keep track of in my head."
Carl: Or maybe there's, I don't know which is the denominator or the numerator, I think it's the denominator, like maybe you should work a little less. Here's a dilemma I'm seeing particularly that I've always wanted to talk to you about is, how many of those...the 53 hours a week that, when you added everything up, it looks like advisors are working 53 hours, 20 of those hours are keeping up with your weekend reading.
Michael: Now, to be fair, professional development only scored an average of about three to three and a half hours a week, which I think is fair. That's like weekend reading and one or two Kitces articles. Clearly, you can't read all of them in three hours.
Carl: No, no, but your version of "weekend reading" is like my version of "year reading." And I want to read on the weekend. So we could...
Michael: You could read it on Monday. A lot of people read it Friday afternoon or Monday morning.
Carl: We can dedicate a whole another episode to that, but I'm really actually curious about that. I think it would be the denominator, like the number of weeks, couldn't we also say, "Hey, maybe there's something about the idea that you think you're working between 43 and 53 hours, whatever it is, and you think you're working 50 weeks a year, and maybe you are," and when's the last time you actually took a single weekend off, and when's the last time you actually did any of those things, is also very interesting. To me, a result of this is like, "Wow, no wonder so many people feel a little overworked." No wonder so many people feel a little stressed. No wonder so many people feel like they're juggling too much in our industry, right? Or did you not get that from this?
Michael: I don't know that I got it entirely from this, granted like we didn't directly ask, "And are you miserable because of the number of hours you spend doing all this stuff, yes or no?" But I don't know, like the general sense and discussion I get for our advisor world these days, look, I think everybody feels time-pressured and hurried. I don't think it's even unique to advisor world. Like this seems to be part of the human condition right now. We're always on...the smartphone keeps us always connected so we can't turn off from all the stuff that we do. So I think there's a piece of that that's kind of ubiquitous in society right now, probably a bigger conversation than just our discussion here.
How An Advisor's Time Breaks Down (And What That Might Suggest) [11:34]
But sort of the industry takeaway to me of this is still...so what we found, about 20% of time is client meetings, about 30% of the time is what you do before that meeting or what you do after that meeting or what you do in between meetings. So meeting prep, client servicing tasks that come out of a meeting, and the planning analysis, the one-off questions that clients had asked you in between meetings, "Hey, I got this tax thing," and you got to go, study it, number crunch it, or do whatever you're going to do, and get back to them. That kind of planning analysis work, that was about 30% of the time. So they added up to half the time of the advisor was, call it, "client activities," but the majority of their client-related activities weren't actually in the meetings. It was before the meeting, after the meeting, and between the meetings.
Carl: Right. So, what was the rest, the other 50%?
Michael: Well, so this was the other part that got interesting. So when we take the other half of the pie, sort of the remaining 50% of the time, 20% of that was business development. You got to go get new clients if you're going to keep growing.
Michael: The next piece after that was investment management tasks. Now, bear in mind, we've already chewed up half the pie for meeting with clients and before, after, between meetings, then another 20% for business development. The investment management slice for the average advisor was 11% of their time, which I actually find, again, one of these double-edged swords. From the technology productivity end, what that says to me is this whole shift towards software that manages portfolios, manages models, does the rebalancing, automates all that stuff, apparently, we've actually gotten pretty good at that. Because the financial advisor 40 years ago, all they did was the investment stuff. Now, we're down to that's only an 11% slice. The striking part to me was the sample that we analyzed was still more than 90% AUM fees and only 11% of the time is on the investment stuff. And then, of what was left, a little under 10% was admin, a couple percent for professional development, because it takes time to read nerdy Kitces articles, and then the last 10% was sort of this other management tasks and just handling business stuff.
Do What Only You Can Do [14:29]
Carl: Right, right. What I'm thinking of here is...and I'm wondering if you can think of examples of the model that we still hear a lot about, and I'm thinking of my orthodontist. When I take the kids in or even when I was going to see the orthodontist, it seemed to me like everything else was...and I'm not sure this, actually I'm pretty sure because I asked him, he was my friend, everything else was taken care of by somebody else. You just came in, boom, sat down, sat down, sat down, walked out, took a couple. Actually, he wasn't even taking notes anymore. Somebody else was there taking notes.
Michael: Well, now, I think the doctor model is kind of similar. The nurses and the rest of the staff do so much that the doctor just goes patient to patient to patient.
Carl: Yeah. In fact, that's a good... Quick story, I have this friend, we'll call him Dr. Foz. And Foz, when he was my next-door neighbor, he was an ER doctor, and we were really good friends. We climbed, mountain biked, and skied together, and it's always good to have ER around for that kind of stuff.
Michael: That's good strategy, bring an ER doc with you when you go skiing.
Carl: It is part of my strategy, be good friends with ER doctors while doing outdoor stuff. I fell and hit my head and split my head open, and we were going to do it at the kitchen table. And he's like, "Ah, let's go up to ED, up to the emergency department." And we walked in, and everybody is like, "Fozzzzz!!!!" giving him high fives, and the staff is excited. And I was like, "What is going on?" And he said to me, "Carl, an emergency room can get really stressful when it gets backed up." And this is kind of a crude...but apparently, doctors talk this way occasionally, like, "I move the meat," is what he said. And I said, "Move the meat?" And he's like, "I get people through," right. And I said, "Well, how?" And he said, "I only do what only a doctor can do."
Carl: And the example he gave was, "Most of my colleagues will...when they need to call the primary care physician to get some background, they will go pick up the phone and call, and they think it's only going to take a minute." You got to hunt down, they're like on the 15th, I don't do that because somebody else can do that. And I think that model, and you know, Dan Sullivan's model gets really close to this, "Unique Ability," and John Bowen's been talking about this forever, like that model. Do you see...because that's what I see in here is like, "Wait, there's either a lot of room to leverage other people's..." The chances of you being good at all of the stuff that's showing up in that pie chart are next to zero. We've got a couple of renaissance advisors, right, that love to do everything themselves, and more power to them, and that's awesome. But I guess who I'm talking to are the people who realize like, "Wait, is there a model here for me to be just doing what I'm good at? And I happen to be really good at business development or really good at client-facing meetings."
Michael: So part of what we did find in the study that was striking, we actually did ask about what the advisor's infrastructure was. Do you have an assistant? Do you have a paraplanner or associate advisor that runs sidecar with you? And we did find some pretty striking results from that end. The advisors who had some kind of associate advisor [or] paraplanner with them essentially splitting client duties, on average, had 64% more clients and netted 80% more in take-home pay. They made so much more by being able to do more for more clients by having an associate and doing what you're talking about, like delegating and pushing out more tasks, that we could see in everything from capacity to how much money they took home even after they paid this additional staff that they brought on. So we can see some of that task specialization definitely starts to show up. Although, even for advisors that had associates, when we looked at their time for the week, it actually still wasn't all that different. They just spent less time per client and were able to do more of them. They didn't have to do four hours of work for the client prep, they did two hours of client prep and then handed off the other two hours to their associate, and then they could do twice as many clients because the prep time is only half the time. But if you go from doing four hours a prep to doing two clients with two hours of prep each, you actually still spend the same amount of time in prep.
Carl: As a percentage.
Michael: As a percentage, you just spend less time per client because the rest of the time gets backfilled by the advisors with you.
Carl: If that's true, right, and I want to make sure I really heard you correctly, you said net after you paid the associate. You were saying like...did you say net?
Michael: Yes, you were still taking home 80% more in income.
Carl: Eighty percent.
Michael: Eighty percent.
Carl: Okay. I just wanted to make sure everybody understood that number. That was a net number, 80% more in income. And so, if that's true and we still haven't even gotten that extra, I think, massive amount of leverage that would be from hiring people with different skill sets from you that free you up to do, and I hate to keep mentioning Dan Sullivan over and over, but I love his exercise of making a list of three things that you are not good at that you're currently doing and saying, "Okay, 90 days from now, I will not be doing these things." And then thinking not how but who, who will be doing them, right? Because that's what jumped out at me as I was reading this was like, "Wow, look at all the..." I didn't think a couple of things. One was we lie to ourselves about how much we're actually working. That both...
Michael: Because when you add it up, it's way more than what we thought it was.
Carl: Yeah. And what work actually means, right. And then, but number two was like, "Wow, look at all the opportunity for us here to get a small team of two or three people that are different in their function and taking things off of your plate so you can spend more time in business development and one-on-one meetings."
Michael: Here is the interesting part though that comes up for me, which is to ask the question, because you talk about this, "Let's get better with our time, let's get more efficient, let's delegate more, let's get more team around us," so the question I'd ask is, to what end?
Michael: So this set home for me, we actually... I was at an event a couple of months ago for CFP board. They brought together this cool group of folks from large firms, small firms all over the place, talking about kind of the future of the business and the role of technology. And so I was presenting that day, actually talking about some preliminary stuff that we had from this research study that we've done. And the person before me was presenting something from, I think it was work that Fidelity was doing, about how they were trying to use and leverage all the technology that they had and get more task off the advisor's plate and get them more client-facing, and their projection was that, if they could do all of this well, they were hoping to get to 300 or 400 clients per advisor by just getting everything else off the advisor's plate. So virtually, all their time would just be spent client facing. And so I went up there after them and said, so just having heard my prior presenter, "No offense to Fidelity. I'm a fan of the company. I think they're doing cool stuff. But as an advisor, that world you just described sounds like a horrible dystopia to me." My brain cannot keep track of 300 to 400 people. There's no way. So I'm just going to be talking on the phone or sitting across from people, probably spending most of my time just trying to remember who the heck you are, reading notes in a file that I cannot possibly remember or recall and pretending like I know you really well because I read this off my screen even though I can't remember who the heck you are because I've seen 299 other people besides you in the past couple of months. I said, "This sounds like a horrible dystopia to me about this goal that we have of getting hyperproductive to the point we have a zillion clients per advisor."
Now, the awkward moment for this for me was it turns out the person who had said the quote was actually in the room, kind of unwittingly slammed the person, shook their hand afterward. It's like, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." I really do actually think they're doing really cool work up in Fidelity on this. But it all leads towards this question of, we're trying to get more efficient with our time. We're talking about how do we get more client-facing with our time. We've put this number out that 20% of advisor's time is spent client facing as though that's so horrible and it should be so much higher, because then we can serve so many more clients. But I sort of ask this question, to what end? Because I don't think I'd be happier having 300 or 400 clients, because I got so awesome with all this technology and staff and other stuff that I was able to do it. And even in the study, the striking thing was capacity went up 64%, take-home pay went up 80. And if you just think about what that means, it's like, I only got 60% more clients, but my revenue went up so much that I increased my revenue, paid more people, and still netted more than 80% higher. Which means, in essence, it's not just that advisors serve more clients, the biggest thing that's actually happening when we leverage ourselves is we're serving wealthier clients. We're going deeper, we're moving up market.
Carl: Well, and I want to be clear, like the why to me is so I can see my kids, the why to me is so I can go on a trail run. That's why. It's about being...
Michael: You want your client-facing time to be 100% of your time, but that's because you only want to work 8 hours a week, and the others, 45 off.
Carl: To me, if my experience in this industry is...and I think it's showing up in the survey, which is like, "Okay, I could get an associate who would do amazing work, it could free me up to work with fewer," and again, I want to be really clear, this is not for everyone. It's not everyone's goal. I don't think you and I could spend a whole and we will spend a whole episode on this, like, "Oh, I only want to work with wealthy people, and I'm so smart." That's not for everyone. But I do see there's an opportunity here to have a life. That's, to me, the why. Like, why don't you take the weekend off? Why don't you take a vacation with your kids? Why don't you work 40 hours instead of 53? And I think you're probably working more than 53, because you're lying to yourself. And I'm being a little drill sergeanty here and I know it, but then it's because I...what shows up for me is like, "Why? I want to enjoy my life a little more." Because I agree, you're exactly right, like, "Wait, I don't want 300 marching me in and out all day forever." My orthodontist buddy also doesn't work past a certain hour, and he takes Mondays and Fridays off. And I think that would be one thing that would be really interesting is if you said time off is a prerequisite for doing the kind of work that you do, not a reward, you said, "Okay, great, you're going to get hyper-efficient. First, you have to take Mondays off." And I'm just using it as a forcing function to say, "Doesn't our work expand to the amount of time that we allow it?" So, that would be my why. And it's not everybody's, but that would be my why.
Michael: Yeah. So this is an area I think...
Carl: You're not buying it.
Michael: ...we're definitely going to go deeper on. I mean, we want to research it more from the studying end as well that...I mean, even down to the point that, as many people know, read the blog, and listened to me, I've long maintained that it gets really hard for most advisors to maintain more than about 100 active client relationships. We can say we have 150 or 300 clients, which is like 100 of them we haven't for a couple of years, we just did business with them once in the past. Most advisors don't end out with more than about 75 to 100 active client relationships. And to me, the striking thing about this data, the other way to look at it is that really is where we're capping out. It only takes about six to nine hours a week to meet with those clients multiple times throughout the year. And so it just only takes 20% of our time to serve the clients that we actually want to serve, and so then the question becomes, what are you going to do with the other 80% of your time? And so some of us use that to grow the business, some of us use that to take time off, and a lot of us perhaps use that to get stuck in busy work in the business because we've got the time. And as you said, the tasks will expand to fill the time that they're allotted. Because we don't want that many more clients or it just gets overwhelming with more clients, and so we're backfilling the time instead.
Carl: Yeah, they're so good. Let me just...one last little story. I remember there was a guy in South Carolina, I can't remember. Maybe it was Virginia, Virginia Beach or something. He was a solo. He wrote something for... I wish I could remember his name because you may have read this. It was a couple of years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, he was making his topline revenue number, all the AUM, reasonable fee structure for the time period, reasonable fee structure now, he wasn't doing anything dishonest. He was a full sort of RIA firm with an invoice at the end of every quarter, so everything was out, done exactly the way. I think he was basically a passive advisor, DFA advisor, something like that, and topline revenue was something like 650. And he did everything himself. So he was asking the same question, he was like, "What? I don't get all this outsourcing stuff that everybody's running around and preaching. I do everything myself." He's like, "Most days, I'm done by noon. And I take home 550 a year. I don't see the problem with this." And this was his question in an email to me, he said, "What do the rest of you do," right, which I just think is really interesting. I don't know the answer. So we've painted these two extremes. I don't know, there is no answer, right. The answer is you got to sort through this for yourself and figure it out. But I just think the fact that you're asking these questions, and putting this data in front of people, and pointing out inconsistencies and places to improve, such a huge value. Just a valuable contribution to the community, for sure.
Michael: So I guess we'll leave that maybe as the open question to audience and folks who are listening to as well. I'll frame this up two ways, and you can drop comments into the comment section below. It's down from wherever you're seeing this. If you're listening, I'm pointing down. So I guess the two questions I have, one is, "If you could be more productive, would you double your clients? If we could make all of this productivity stuff happen and you could spend half the time per client because you got the staff or the tech or whatever it is, do you even want to try to get from 100 clients to 200 clients, or 50 clients to 100 clients, wherever you are?" And then the second question that I would ask is, "What do you do with all that other filler time? For you, where is all that time going?" And I guess doing your own introspection, are you happy with how that time is going, or is that a good thing or is that a problem?
Carl: Amen, love it. I love particularly that last question. That's what I was going to ask you. It would be really interesting if you could do, what's that fancy, what do we do? Regression analysis?
Michael: Yes, we do feel those.
Carl: On a happiness question, right?
Michael: Yes, but we didn't ask campiness, so maybe that'll be our addition next time.
Carl: But we can get some of it down below in the comment. This is my favorite part of the whole show, where we can go down below at the comment section. So, Michael, we should just sort of wrap there, you think?
Michael: I think we can wrap up there.
Carl: Yeah, amen. Thank you so much for, A, doing the research and, B, taking the time to talk about it, for sure.
Carl: And where can people find it?
Michael: So we've got it up on the site. Well, you can always just Google "Kitces time research study," and you'll find it. But it's up on the blog. We'll make sure we link out to it as well. So check out the YouTube notes, check out in the transcript for this. We'll have some links out to it as well for people that want to read this in further detail.
Carl: Perfect, awesome. Thanks, Michael.
Michael: Thank you, Carl.
Matthew in Seattle says
Another great episode. The easy answer here, is more time out of the office (Kitces.com/7 or Kitces.com/110). 😉 But I still come back to this idea of only being able to serve 100/150 clients.
You gave examples of Doctors and Dentists, each of whom serve hundreds if not thousands of patients. Yes the dynamic is different, but not so different it’s not applicable.
One other thing that stood out, you gave the example that most people dramatically under estimated things like time watching TV. On that same note, How can we use any self reported, self selection studies for anything other than antidotal discussion? Even if the respondents have tracked their time in detail (highly unlikely), there has to be a huge selection bias.
What id love to see is a study that actually tracks an advisors time (or at least looks directly at her calendar) and that complies actual P&L statements from a wide cross-section of advisors. Then we’d have a more scientific data set to discuss.
As always, thanks for the discussion. Funny side note to Carl’s joke about the hours requires just to read Kitces material: invest in a speed reading course 😉
Elliott Weir - III Financial says
One time breakdown not mentioned is where the advisor is in the practice-building stage. The advisor who has a “full” list of clients (whether that’s 50, 100, or more) won’t be spending as much time on business development as the advisor who has 20 clients.
My goal is to be like the advisor Carl mentioned, where a have a manageable number of clients (75-100? we’ll see) and don’t need a bunch of staff and support to manage. Outsource the business development because I absolutely hate it and I’m terrible at it, but other than that, I think I can handle most everything else efficiently. No payroll, no extra compliance, no hiring, no personnel tasks, no having to be the boss.
I agree with Michael – the thought of 300-400 clients sounds like a nightmare. Not possible to have a meaningful understanding of that many people, and that many meetings a day sounds horrible – especially for an introvert. 🙂
David A. MacLean says
Sounds like James Osborne is who Carl was talking about at the 30 min mark.
Kitces had a fantastic interview with him a little while back.
Michael Rauth says
Thank you. I was just about to post a request to Carl to please let us know who he was referring to.