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I stopped visiting clients at home and kept my weekends for family time
I stopped visiting clients at home and kept my weekends for family time

Mar 09 2023 / Round the Table Magazine

I stopped visiting clients at home and kept my weekends for family time

How one advisor got his weekends back and is working toward seeing clients two days a week.

Topics Covered

An advisor can easily get caught up working every day trying to accommodate every client and never be home with the family. When I started my family, I decided to create boundaries by organizing my calendar way in advance — I’m talking about a full year to a year and a half in advance — to build my ideal week.

My practice provides wealth management services on a fee basis, and the assets for our typical clients range between $2 million and $5 million. My ideal week is as follows: I see clients on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday is for getting ready for the week, and I start pre-preparing on Sunday evening, so I can be ready when I meet my team on Monday afternoon. We meet in the afternoon because I take my daughter to school in the morning.

I meet with other partners or consultants, and we meet with other advisors should we need to. If I need to schedule a Monday meeting for clients, I’ll do that toward the end of the day. All day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are for client meetings, and Friday is the catch-up day with my team to go over any planning for the following week. I don’t work on Saturdays and Sundays anymore.

How did I get to this schedule?

I stopped home visits. This sounds difficult if you are consistently going out to see clients, and they are used to you coming to see them. So, setting the expectation that I was not going to do home visits had to be done gradually. I started by not making appointments to see anyone on the weekend. Then, I stopped going to people’s homes at night. I would only see clients on weekday mornings and slowly transitioned to not going on home visits at all.

I occasionally saw clients on Sunday because that was the day they would come to my office back then. Gradually, I stopped holding Sunday meetings and, over time, Saturday meetings too by moving all appointments to Tuesday through Friday, until eventually I stopped scheduling Friday appointments. 

Eliminating Friday was a little challenging. The universe was really testing me there since every time a good opportunity would come up on that day like a big life insurance sale, I would cave and meet the client. But it would never go well, or the client would cancel last minute or reschedule. So, I made a rule that if the clients are paying us a fee in some way, shape or form, I will see them on a Friday. 

What gave me some peace is I was only working one weekend a month during the winter and fall seasons. No one wants to come to see me on a Saturday or Sunday, particularly during the spring when the weather starts getting nice and during the summer when they’d rather be at the beach. They usually called me to cancel or reschedule the meeting during those seasons. So, I limited my weekend appointments to the fall and winter months and worked Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to about 5 p.m.

If the clients had to cancel or reschedule their weekend, I wouldn’t be available until the following month, so they would have to wait three to four weeks to see me. I would plan my calendar out in advance, send it out to my clients and tell them that these are the weekends that I’m working if they’d like to meet. If they canceled and wanted to meet me the next weekend, the answer was no because I’m not working that weekend. 

Flexibility is key

My ultimate vision is to see clients only two days a week. I do make exceptions to the schedule, of course. Life happens. Clients get sick. Some of my clients have babies, and they don’t want to travel or go out. So, occasionally, I’ll go out to them on a weekend, and sometimes I’ll take my family and make a quick trip out of it. We get to see their new child. They get to see my family, and we make the best of it.

There is no hard and fast rule for creating this schedule, but when you’re trying to make decisions on how to manage a calendar, having these parameters built in helps. We give our clients the calendar 12 weeks in advance and block out the days and weeks we are not working so they are able to see what is available and pick a day that works best for them. Blocking my calendar allows me to protect our family vacations, my birthday, my wife’s birthday, anniversaries and other special events.