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A Day in the Life of a Financial Advisor


Managing time wisely is key to boosting your productivity as an advisor and working effectively toward your goals. A typical day in the life of a financial advisor can span a variety of activities, from managing back-end tasks to meeting with clients to prospecting. Knowing how to structure your daily round can ensure that you’re prioritizing those activities that are most important for your business without stretching yourself too thin.

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What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

A financial advisor’s main job is to help clients manage their finances more effectively so that they can reach their goals. Financial advisors can offer advice on retirement planning, life insurance, estate planning, college planning and investment management. Some advisors may choose to niche down and focus on a specific demographic or client profile, such as women investors or members of the LGBTQ community.

Financial advisors can own their own boutique firms and work independently or be employed by a financial services company. In addition to having extensive financial know-how, financial advisors also need to be skilled at marketing and effective communicators to better understand the needs of their clients.

Financial Advisor vs. Financial Planner

The terms “financial advisor” and “financial planner” are often used interchangeably as someone who helps clients with their overall financial picture while helping prepare for the long term. However, a financial planner can also be a type of financial advisor that helps clients prepare financially for retirement or their long-term stability. Either one can assist with full financial plans that involve estate planning, tax planning, retirement saving and more.

What Does a Day in the Life of a Financial Advisor Look Like?

Every financial advisor’s daily routine looks different but there’s some common ground in terms of the types of tasks that an advisor’s day can include. For many advisors, that means having a morning routine that’s designed to get them energized and motivated before the actual workday begins. A good morning routine might include exercise, meditation, reading and a healthy breakfast.

Once those initial tasks are out of the way, an advisor’s day can revolve around the following activities.

Prospecting (2-3 hours)

Reaching out to prospective clients can take up a little of your day or a lot, depending on the state of your business. If you’ve just launched a new advisory business or accepted your first position in the financial services industry, then you’re likely starting from scratch.

You may spend two to three hours each day on prospecting, including cold calling, meeting people in person, participating in community events or marketing your business online. This is where an online lead generation tool can help. It’s a simple way to save time while only connecting with prospects who meet your ideal client profile.

SmartAsset AMP can help you automate lead generation for new clients with a single subscription. You can be matched with high-intent investors that match what you’re looking for in a potential client. SmartAsset AMP takes care of referrals, sales campaigns, CRM integrations and more. You could even be directly connected with live leads so you can make an appointment right away.

Client Management (1-2 hours)

Whether you have one client or 100 clients, you can expect to spend part of your day attending to them. That might mean meeting with clients face-to-face, answering client questions over the phone or via email, conducting portfolio reviews or sending out a newsletter to your email list.

Attending to these types of tasks is important for client retention and there can be another benefit as well. Satisfied, engaged clients may be more likely to refer you to their friends, family members or colleagues. The more referrals you’re able to generate, the less time you may need to spend on prospecting.

Financial Planning (1-2 hours)

Financial planning lies at the heart of what financial advisors do. Your clients rely on you to create a plan that’s tailored to their needs and objectives. So, it makes sense that a portion of your day would be dedicated to creating or updating financial plans.

That might include running hypothetical scenarios for different asset allocations, adjusting clients’ plans to account for various life changes or reviewing their personal timeline for retirement to determine whether they’re on track. The more tuned in you are to your client’s needs and situations, the easier this part of your job may be.

Continuing Education and Development (1 hour)

The financial services industry is continually evolving, and advisors must be able to keep pace to avoid being left behind. Part of your day may be devoted to expanding your knowledge and skillset or simply reading up on the latest regulatory guidelines.

Advisors may spend time outside of the typical workday attending conferences and workshops or studying to earn additional certifications. Or they may need to complete special training sessions to learn how to use new software programs or other tech tools their firm introduces.

Networking (30 mins-1 hour)

Networking can help you to make invaluable connections as an advisor and you may spend a small part of each day growing your network. That might be something as simple as reaching out to 10 new people on LinkedIn or sending an introductory email to an advisor you’d like to connect with.

If you have a larger block of time available, you might attend an in-person networking event. Participating in community events featuring professionals in the financial services industry and related fields is another way to invest your time wisely if you can grow your network.

Administrative Tasks (30 mins. to 1 hour)

Administration work can be tedious but it’s necessary if you want to run a successful advisory business. A good part of your day might be spent on things like recordkeeping, drafting reports or accounting.

Delegating and automating can help you to save time while ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. For example, you might hand off lower-priority tasks to a junior employee or invest in automation software to handle accounting and payroll if you own an advisory business.

Time Management Tips for Financial Advisors

day in the life of a financial advisor

If you feel that you’re not getting everything done that you need to, then it might help to rethink how you spend each working day. Here are a few tips for getting more done as an advisor without getting burned out.

  • Follow a routine: Doing the same things in the same order each day might seem a little monotonous, but it can be a help when managing your time. Creating a routine means that you don’t have to guess which tasks come next or where you need to focus your attention.
  • Map out your day the night before: Writing out your day before it happens can help you structure your time around individual tasks. You can also review each task and make note of which ones are your top priorities for the day.
  • Work in blocks: Time-blocking allows you to stay focused on a particular task or group of tasks for a set amount of time. For example, you might block off two hours in the morning for prospecting and one hour in the afternoon for administrative tasks. Time-blocking also makes it easier to build breaks into your day.
  • Use systems: Implementing systems can also be a time-saver. For instance, if you don’t have a clear system for onboarding new clients in place yet, that’s something you might want to consider creating. The more you can streamline simpler tasks, the more time you can free up to focus on activities that are designed to produce profits for your business.

Keep in mind that everything a financial advisor works with involves dealing with what is known as the human element. This means that advisors will need to work with people to get most of this work done, from their own clients to other advisors or even professionals like lawyers. Advisors need to have strong people skills to navigate many of these situations.

Bottom Line

day in the life of a financial advisor

If you’re interested in a career in financial services, then it helps to know what a day in the life of a financial advisor might look like. It’s not uncommon for advisors to work long hours, especially in the beginning when they’re trying to establish their brand and build a client base. Developing a strategy for managing time can help you better meet your clients’ needs without getting overwhelmed.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Are you looking to expand the marketing of your financial advisor practice? Try SmartAsset AMP, our holistic client prospecting and marketing automation platform.
  • Digital marketing can be a powerful way to connect with prospects and establish your brand. If you’re not working on creating a digital footprint yet, you could be missing out on opportunities to grow your client base. Learning digital marketing strategies, including social media and email marketing, can help to increase your visibility online and make it easier to attract clients to your business.

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