An Often Overlooked Source of Success

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A few years ago, I worked with a large firm that was in the process of hiring a junior adviser. After an extensive search and multiple interviews, the very successful adviser/owner of the multi-adviser ensemble selected a junior adviser to join the firm. At the conclusion of the final interview, the position was offered. The junior and senior advisers shook hands, and both went away eager for the start date.

Later the same evening, the junior emailed the senior and said, “There are just a few more things I thought of.” He went on to list the items he had in mind and that he needed, including family dental insurance, a couple extra vacation days and the option to work from home occasionally. Perhaps, had they not finalized their arrangement and shaken hands, the hiring adviser could have easily accepted the requests. But, in fact, the email was a show stopper, and the deal was off. Weeks later, the adviser learned that the junior’s spouse had been instrumental in sending the email.

The impact of an adviser’s support system or “significant other” (e.g., spouse, partner, other family member) goes both ways. When someone achieves a certain level of success and is publicly honored, whom does he or she thank first? Frequently, it is the significant other. In general, a stable personal life contributes to an adviser’s focus and success, just as a discombobulated personal life can be a distraction to focus and success. Whether the significant other holds down the fort at home, earns another income or is the enduring soul mate through good times and bad, the impact on an adviser is strong.

So the significant other is critical to an adviser’s success and ultimately to a practice. I typically recommend dinner with all significant others of any adviser (regardless of junior or senior status) before he or she is hired by, merges with or joins a practice.

We seldom stop to consider the role that a stable personal life plays in success. And certainly one can find occurrences where success occurs despite a stressful personal life.

But, if there is a moral to this blog, it is that, if you have a stable personal relationship, you may want to go home and hug someone.


Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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