In Focus: Modern financial planner  

How to spot the warning signs of stress, and what to do about it

How to spot the warning signs of stress, and what to do about it

Looking after your mental health is important and there are several stress factors advisers in particular should be looking out for, said Shaun Doherty, owner of The 555 Club, and a former IFA.

Early on in an adviser's career it could be exams that are adding significant stress, or the pressure around building a client bank, Doherty said on the latest FTAdviser In Focus podcast, whereas later in their career the idea of retiring and losing a bank of clients that have become friends could be stress factors for advisers.

"And then all the time in between you're also dealing with economic ups and downs and you're dealing with the emotional backstory of each client... because it's not a rational game," he said.

"On top of all your business, your personal, your family, you're then managing the emotions of your clients as well, and it's very difficult to look after all that and then just press the off button at half five and finish off."

According to Doherty, it's important to tackle stress early on as ignoring it can prove costly.

"[Mental health] along with your physical health is the foundation that the castle was built on.

"If you [neglect your physical and mental health] over 10, 15, 20 years, which is the game advisers are playing – it's a long-term game with long-term people – if you're letting your mental health and your physical health suffer, you're going to pay that tax eventually and it's not going to be a small one," he said.

Kerry Burgess, people operations director at First Wealth, agreed spotting signs of stress early on was important.

She said advice businesses were historically failing to foster communication between colleagues about their private lives but the industry had started to change.

"We see a lot more of our male colleagues now getting more involved in things like childcare or caring for elderly relatives... it's not just the female colleagues that have that issue. 

"Having open communication, having the flexible working, all of those things now are helping in the financial services profession to start allowing everybody to have more of that career and home life. But there's never clear boundaries, is there?" she adds.

To hear more about how advisers can spot the early warning signs of stress and learn about techniques to destress, click on the link above.

carmen.reichman@ft.com