Sometimes we find out too late that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Then what?
More often than you would think, advisors tell us that they made a mistake by leaving one firm to join another. Sometimes it’s because the move was made in haste: that is, the advisor didn’t fully vet the new firm or complete his due diligence. Other times, the advisor was sold the proverbial bill of goods—and he later finds out that the ability to manage and grow his business is severely limited.
The reality is that the industry landscape has changed drastically in the last 3 years and certainly since many first joined their firms. The waterfall of possibilities has expanded exponentially as many legitimate and sophisticated options now exist in the independent and quasi-independent space. So even if a move was not seen as a mistake before, an advisor might now feel like he is currently not in the best place to serve his clients.
“I’m sure there’s a better way…but I’m stuck with time left on my contract.”
That feeling of being “stuck” is what these advisors describe, trapped by contractual agreements with their firms. That is, they’re on the hook for what is typically a great deal of money that they would owe back to the firm should they leave prior to fulfilling their obligation.
Yearning for free agency – the day their contract expires – these advisors are looking for a better way…or a way out. While the latter isn’t always the path of least resistance, if you’re one of these advisors, there are some things you can do if you find any of the following to be true:
- The limitations/frustrations you are experiencing are greater than your concern about owing money back.
- The risk of losing your clients or not feeling like you are acting in their best interests is greater than any money you would owe back.
- You find a value proposition that is BETTER ENOUGH, so it is worth paying the money back and gaining the freedom to live the business life you want to.
The reality is that you’re not really as stuck as you think. Taking into account these 3 scenarios, you’ll find you have the following options:
- Stick it out and suck it up until free agency happens.
- Get educated and explore your options, determining that the grass isn’t any greener elsewhere—in which case, you stay put from a position of greater strength, clarity and dedication.
- Get educated and explore your options, determining that the grass is greener elsewhere—then evaluate any deal terms associated with a move against the money you would owe back to your firm, deciding whether or not the economics of a move are worth it.
Unfortunately, none of us can go back in time and erase a decision that we once made. But allowing that decision to hold you – and your thinking – hostage, will not improve your situation in any way.
The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel—you just need to walk towards it in a thoughtful and provident manner. Take the first step by getting educated; opening your mind to the options available will help to alleviate the pain and negativity that’s causing your feeling of remorse. Guided by a new level of knowledge and the strength of your own volition, you’ll gain your stride towards a future that looks brighter than where you are now.