Study Shows Most Financial Advisors Suffered From PTSD After 2008

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Being a financial advisor is certainly a stressful job, and a new study highlights just how stressful it can be—especially during and right after a financial crisis like the one we had in 2008. MarketWatch contributor Quentin Fottrell reported on the research study, which was published in the Journal of Financial Therapy.


PTSD Statistics Among Financial Advisors

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, self-doubt, problems concentrating at work, and depression, and the study shows that 93 percent of financial advisors experienced the symptoms after 2008. Many are still experiencing the symptoms today.

According to the research, 40 percent of advisors actually experienced severe PTSD symptoms. And most of those surveyed were in charge of managing assets worth between $20 million and $40 million.

How PTSD Affects Financial Decisions

Researchers said one of the ways some PTSD sufferers handle their symptoms is through risky behaviors, which can sometimes offer temporary relief. Unfortunately for financial advisors, that sometimes means taking greater risks with the assets they manage. About half of the advisors who took part in the study said that when the financial crisis was at its worst, they increased their risk-taking.

Many advisors say that they have rethought their investment strategies over the last five years. Fottrell looked at a number of other studies. One showed that about 83 percent of financial planners are shifting from their buy and sell methodologies to market-timing strategies. Another study indicated that 63 percent of financial planners started to switch to more tactical strategies for asset allocation.

Currently some financial advisors may be having flashbacks now that the Dow is going over 15,000. It’s reasonable to believe that many of them are questioning their strategies, especially since they don’t want to become caught when the market starts trending downward again.

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