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Blogs - The New Generation's Practice
Solo Advisors: How to Take Time Off
Monday, July 29, 2013

The time came this summer where my family was going to spend a week away from home and enjoy the peace and quiet of the northern woods of Wisconsin. It had been a while since I had taken some solid time away from working -- I would say it had been about 18 months since Id taken more than a three-day weekend off of work -- but I knew I needed to do it.

But my firm was still in its infancy. How do solo RIAs get away from it all?

Ive read a number of articles about how other solos manage vacations. Most say they check in with phone and email once a day, and spend time each day working. I admit, this does not sound appealing. My goal is to cut myself off for a small period of time, so I can come back completely recharged and relaxed.

Here are the steps I took -- in addition to filing a couple of these blog posts in advance, of course -- to ensure that I am able to shut down.

1. Emailed or called clients to tell them of my upcoming unavailability and ask whether anything might come up during that time that would require my assistance. Anything I could help with in advance, I did -- but anything that happens in the meantime can be addressed when I return.

2. Left thoughtful out-of-office messages. Everyone needs time away. I prefer not to be disturbed on my vacation with any business at all; its family time. But I phrased it tastefully in my out-of-office notifications -- at least I hope I did. I also hope people will respect my decision to be unavailable.

3. Rationed my electronic device use. My phone and computer are synced, so I get work emails on my phone. That works great when Im at home, but it means I need to turn off my phone during vacation. I need to do this cold-turkey for it to work properly.

This was easy to write down, but well see if it actually works.

(3) Comments
Interesting article Dave. But something doesn't sound right. Not at all. But I've been there! Years ago, early in my career, I was busy, busy, busy. I was at home but I wasn't REALLY at home. I was playing with my kids but I wasn't REALLY playing with my kids. I was on holiday, but I wasn't REALLY on holiday. Always missing the present moment - because my head was still at work. That had to stop. (And a penny dropping moment helped that to happen). So I decided to book time off BEFORE I booked time on. Then 4 months off a year became the minimum, plus semi-retirement at age 45. How? Because I realised my job (through financial planning) was to help clients have a great lifestyle - and I deserved to have one too! I told clients I like to climb mountains and sail seas, so sometimes when they ring I might be on a mountain somewhere - or in the middle of an ocean. They loved it! Because they knew that I wasn't pretending to 'manage their money'. I was helping them to get and keep the life they want through PROPER financial planning. It's not about products and investments! Get a life! Life's not a rehearsal, precious time is slipping away. Time is speeding up the older you get. Not just for clients, but YOU too! Build this FACT into your client proposition. You can read about my 'penny dropping moment' and how I did it in my book "The Financial Advisor's Survival Guide" downloadable FOC at www.PaulArmson.com
Posted by Paul A | Wednesday, July 31 2013 at 8:26AM ET
Nice article David. Really hit home with me as my time off has been steadily disappearing as my business grows. I've purposefully avoided getting another smartphone after my original iphone died and I've been going on nearly 2 years now without email on my phone.

While it means long days in front of my computer, it assures that when I shut down for the evening, my free time is indeed ME time and I have less distractions when I'm with family and friends.

The good thing about working in online marketing is that I can travel wherever I have an internet connection and do plenty of working vacations, but that's a far second to a real computerless vacation. I'll have to schedule some time off as Paul A suggested.

Posted by Brien S | Friday, August 02 2013 at 3:02PM ET
Paul and Brien - thank you for your comments. You'll see in a blog post next week if it actually worked!
Posted by Dave G | Friday, August 02 2013 at 11:22PM ET
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