4 Fears Financial Advisors Have About Going Independent and How to Overcome Them

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Have you considered leaving your big firm to become an independent financial advisor? If you’ve gotten a glimpse of the future of the financial services industry and are worried about disruption, it’s likely you’ve considered making the move. However, once you actually start thinking deeply about it, you might get a little scared.

This is normal! Big changes are almost always scary, even if we know they’ll lead to brighter futures. Humans tend to gravitate toward what they know and what makes them feel comfortable. Uncertainty can be a tough pill to swallow, especially if you have a family to feed and bills to pay.

Your fears likely fall into one of four categories, which I’m going to share with you today. I want to show you that while these fears are natural, they can be overcome with a little bit of training, a lot of knowledge, and a big boost of confidence.

Fear #1: I Don’t Know if I’ll Be Able to Replace My Income

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Yep, this is the big daddy fear that usually trumps everything else. If you’re with a large firm, it’s likely you’re making a pretty good salary right now. The bills are paid, everyone is taken care of, and you’re probably even socking away some good savings. What if you can’t replace that income when you go independent? This question likely keeps you up at night.

It’s important to realize that, after making your decision, you don’t need to leave right away. You can create a plan that allows you to build up client portfolios that are portable (and more beneficial for them in the long run). You can start saving a bit more to help cover the difference until you do replace your income (and you will). The important thing is, you will not only replace your income when you become a business owner, you’ll likely double or triple it. So this fear is truly temporary.

Fear #2: I’m Afraid of the Risk

Yes, running your own financial advisory business does have its risks. When you’re with a large firm, you don’t have to worry about things like liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, etc. etc. Everything is taken care of for you.

The good news? You can still get someone to take care of all those risk-related documents and policies for you when you go independent. It’s called a good business attorney and insurance provider. You don’t need to feel completely alone when you think about striking out on your own. You can still build a good team around you that will help with all the details.

Fear #3: Dealing with Compliance

Compliance has probably been the bane of your existence as a financial planner with a big firm. It seems like everything from marketing materials to email signature lines get bogged down with red tape. So it makes sense that you worry about dealing with this on your own.

The truth is, compliance seems scarier than it really is. In this new age of technology, the compliance companies have actually been making it easier and easier to deal with them. Do a little research and it will likely ease this fear.

Fear #4: What if My Clients Don’t Come with Me?

You’ve likely spent years developing relationships with your clients and you don’t want to simply walk out the door and never speak to them again. The good news is, if you plan correctly, you can take many of your clients with you when you start your own business.

The bad news? Some of them won’t come. Due to fear of change, information (or misinformation) they’ve been given by your bosses, and hundreds of other possible reasons, you will lose some clients. This is reality.

You can prepare yourself as much as possible by consulting with your employment attorney about what you can and cannot say to them prior to your departure. Most of the time, you can do some education on different types of fee structures and leave them with your new contact information when you make your move. The rest is up to them.

The benefits of going independent far outweigh the drawbacks. However, it’s only natural to have some fears when you consider making a change of this magnitude. Just realize that fear is normal and it’s up to you to decide how to manage it. If you need any help on your journey to becoming an independent advisor, please subscribe below.


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Patrick Tucker Coach for financial advisors

Patrick Tucker, owner of True Measure Wealth Management and founder of True Measure Financial Advisors, has over 20 years experience in the industry and has spent the last 15 years learning the ins and outs of the fee-only advisory business. He's spent over $500,000 finding mentors, studying consulting businesses, taking courses, studying the soft sciences, running trial and error experiments, and learning how to be an entrepreneurial financial advisor. He's simplified this into an easy to use and replicate blueprint for anyone who is entrepreneurial-minded and is tired of the sales culture. Patrick has been able to acquire over $139 million under management with little to no money spent on marketing.