Age Does Not Limit Options for an Advisor's Business Life

“I’m too old to move, let alone go independent!”

As advisors age, many assume that the options for their business life are dwindling…Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Certainly, none of us are getting any younger—and no one wants to make their life more challenging as they edge closer to what could be the cusp of their career.Yet, as the industry landscape continues to evolve and traditional brokerage firms become more controlling, many seasoned advisors “dream” about a professional life where they can have greater freedom, flexibility and controlover their business. Yet they are bothered by the belief that it may be “too late” for them to ever consider realizing it.But as more and more wirehouse firms look for ways to lock-down the remaining years of their advisors’ careers via enhanced sunset programs, before they sign on the dotted line, advisors are reconsidering their options.An expanded landscape with plenty of turnkey models to choose from, along with the ability to “design” one’s own sunset plan, has made independence the destination of choice for many of these high-quality advisors and teams—no matter their age, amount of AUM, or type of business.Yet, still, the question comes up: “Am I too old to go independent?”The truth is that it really comes down to a few key characteristics shared by those advisors who took the leap:
  • They really wanted it.
  • They really believed in their ability to migrate their clients and grow.
  • They had at least a 5-7-year time horizon left to work so that they could make up for the money left on the table (by not taking a transition deal from another traditional firm or leveraging their own firm’s sunset program).
  • They had strong next-gen talent.
  • They were “long-term greedy.”
  • And, most importantly, they felt that they could better serve their clients – and their legacy – by breaking away from their firm.
  • It’s not really an “age-thing”

    Despite the desire to exercise one’s entrepreneurial DNA, there are many advisors who initially wanted to go independent but, in the end, decided not to. But it wasn’t really their age that stopped them from following their dreams.These advisors who didn’t make the leap told us…
  • The pain of “staying” wasn’t great enough—and that, after careful review, they realized they were able to serve their clients and grow their business “well enough.”
  • They didn’t feel they had the “entrepreneurial desire” to make the move—and it would have meant biting off more than they wanted to chew at this stage of their career.
  • They were ultimately more “comfortable” recommitting to the status quo, likely in exchange for the monetary incentive of their firm’s sunset program.
  • In my experience, there is definitively no truth to the statement “I’m too old.” After all, 70 is the new 60, and 60 is the new 50—and I refuse to believe that one’s age defines them. And conversely, there are countless 40-year-olds who would never opt for independence.Ultimately, the adage that “it’s never too late” bears some truth—provided that the value you place on your ability to grow your business, serve your clients, and build your legacy as you see fit is greater than your concerns about age or time.Related: How to Determine if it’s Time to Stay or Go