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Advisers of all ages are valuable

Scott Stevens

Scott Stevens

Happiness and subjective wellbeing involves having mastery over the things that you are required to do, autonomy and choice in your life, and positive human relationships often driven by a strong sense of purpose.

Einstein said: “Strive not to be a success, but to be of value”, and being valuable is a synonym of purposeful. While not everyone may have defined goals, everyone can probably articulate their purpose.

That purpose may well involve the people in your life, your colleagues and friends, those you love and those that love you.

It may well involve mastery over the things that you do. Being good at your work, your pursuits and your roles in life. It may well involve having autonomy and the freedom to make choices.

We have purpose as individuals and businesses need purpose too.

If I asked an adviser why they were in business I doubt any of them would say, ‘so that I can maintain a position on the hedonic treadmill of purchasing and materialism’.

With many advisers in their mid to late 50s, there is much talk about the advice profession getting older and the need to attract younger talent.

Indeed, I have been one of the biggest exponents of this problem. However, our recent research suggests that this is the age at which people can produce some of their most creative work.

A study of Nobel Prize winners found that there were two peaks of creativity. 

The first between the ages of 25 and 29 and a second around the age of 57.

The younger innovators, the researchers categorised as ‘conceptual’. They challenge conventional wisdom with ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. They see very early how things can be done differently.

The older innovators were categorised as ‘experimental’. Having accumulated years of experience throughout their careers, they can now analyse that knowledge to then come up with new ways of thinking.

So, your mid to late 50s can be a purposeful time when you not only have high levels of mastery and autonomy, but you could also be producing some of your most creative work in your career.

Retirement should be seen a series of transitions rather than an event, and advisers coming up to retirement age should stop and think about how they can produce some of their most valuable and impactful work.

As well as attracting the younger conceptual thinkers, the profession also needs to retain the older experimental innovators.

Scott Stevens is director of recruitment and acquisitions for Quilter Financial Planning