Finding confidence on the road to the future

Last year was great for wealth management. But it’s been a hard one, too. Many independent advisers have posted record growth in 2021, so much so that success can feel like a foregone conclusion. A closer look reveals a more complicated and valuable truth: The victories we achieved as an industry came from years of client service, quiet hustle and steadiness in the face of fear.

Fear has always been an adviser’s close companion. We give it names like “volatility,” “uncertainty” or “these unprecedented times.” But we hear it from investors who are immersed in up-to-the-second news, frightened for their livelihoods or the legacies they want to build. We see it in the wirehouse channel, as advisers quietly ready themselves for the leap of faith that comes with every breakaway.

Then there’s the pandemic, which makes a mess of every attempt to plan for a return to normal. Suffice it to say, there is more than enough fear to go around. So how do you find the confidence to acknowledge what the fear is trying to tell you without becoming paralyzed as an entrepreneur and a steward of your clients’ financial futures?

The first and hardest step to following your vision is to let go of the idea that you’re going to know everything on the road to get where you’re going. We can’t time the market. We can’t foresee what investing trends will be in vogue, and there’s never a “perfect” time to strike out as an independent adviser.

When we started Concurrent Advisors five years ago, we literally drove a Winnebago from state to state to make new connections and share our vision of partnership with RIAs. Driving something as big as a Winnebago on winding mountain roads after dark was its own brand of scary. We couldn’t see the whole road ahead of us, but we knew where we were going, and our headlights showed us enough to keep us moving forward.

Things are a little different today. We celebrate our fifth anniversary this month. We’ve established a thriving network of professionals who share strengths with each other and care about our shared success. But we couldn’t have achieved this without having faith in the destination.

Lately it feels as if a lot of us, from our peers in the industry to the people we serve, are driving in the dark. (Winnebago optional!) It’s only human to be intimidated when the world is changing so rapidly. But five years of helping breakaways face down the unknown and watching them spread their wings as advisers has taught me that all you need is a goal and enough light to see what matters on the path in front of you.

Find the light wherever you can. Ask your peers to share their wins. Reflect on how far your clients have come since you started working with them. Success, however you define it, is never a guarantee. But I promise the road to success is a trip worth taking.

Nate Lenz is the co-founder of Concurrent Advisors.

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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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