How to Protect Yourself from Burnout

08 May 2024
2 min read

When a work environment creates constant stress that is either difficult or impossible to manage, many people suffer from burnout. Let’s look at how to recognize and avoid this debilitating sensation.

Burnout is a unique emotional experience that is always related to a person’s job, and sadly, many financial advisors work under conditions that are likely to lead to burnout. In fact, in one study, 33% of advisors surveyed sought medical care to manage symptoms of burnout that were caused by continuous stress.1

Recognizing Burnout

There are three stages of burnout.

Stage 1: The advisor feels a growing sense of futility and a lack of professional effectiveness. 

Stage 2: The advisor is exhausted and dreads going to work. Burnout begins to negatively impact her confidence, job and personal life. 

Stage 3: The advisor becomes cynical and isolates herself from clients, colleagues, friends and family. 

This combination of feeling futile, ineffective, exhausted and isolated often results in a medical crisis that requires treatment. 

What Leads to Burnout?

Burnout is created by a combination of poorly designed workflow and unproductive relationship-management strategies, which can include:

  • Unmanageable/unrealistic workload
  • Confusing/unpredictable work responsibilities
  • Lack of support from leadership
  • Work that shifts between boring and stressful
  • Feeling unrecognized or unrewarded 
  • Lack of sleep 


If you experience any of these conditions, consider yourself at high risk for burnout.

Five Guiding Strategies to Avoid Burnout

1. Focus on providing financial planning and wealth-management advice. Let a third-party provider handle asset management. 

2. Adopt and execute a new business acquisition strategy based on selecting a target market and a unique value proposition designed for that group. 

3. Educate clients. If clients expect that their portfolios will always show positive returns or outperform the market, they are going to be disappointed. Additionally, they need to understand that a financial advisor is not available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Agreeing on boundaries and expectations at the beginning of a relationship goes a long way toward keeping clients satisfied.

4. Invest in adequate staffing support, and use client relationship-management tools. There are many digital tools that can help advisors communicate with clients, organize their time and achieve workflow efficiencies. Invest in the tools, and take the time to master them.

5. Prioritize self-care, rest, recreation and vacations. If you must stay in contact while on vacation, set specific times that you are available. 


A successful advisor has earned the trust of hundreds of families and manages a huge flow of deliverables and constantly fluctuating priorities. Remember that building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Your mental and emotional health are important resources that must be handled intentionally. Pay attention to your work environment, and take the potential for burnout seriously.

Upcoming Webcast: Advisor Burnout: How to Spot the Warning Signs—and Recover from It

For more information about how to recognize and prevent burnout, register for our next practice-management webcast on May 16.

1Adam Fraser and John Molineux, “2021 Australian Financial Advisers Wellbeing Report,” the eLab, Deakin University and AIA Australia (2021)

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