Financial stress: How a financial professional can help

3 MIN READ | #blog

There are many good reasons to work with a financial professional. Did you know it can help you manage financial stress? It can also put you in a better position to protect and grow your wealth. And the majority of the most financially confident US workers work with a financial professional.1

One of the many distinctive benefits of working with a financial professional might not be what you first think. Financial professionals can help prevent you from making decisions that are detrimental to your long-term goals, especially during high-stress financial conditions.

With finances battered by inflation and some people still adjusting to the upheavals of the pandemic, many of us feel unsure and overwhelmed these days. From a financial decision-making perspective, we’re unbalanced.

According to psychologist Daniel Crosby Ph.D., that’s when we’re likely to make poor decisions and deviate from our financial plan with disastrous results.

Losing IQ points

Research shows that in times of financial stress, people temporarily lose the equivalent of 13% of their IQ.2 “We’re actually less intelligent at exactly the time we need to make the smartest decisions about our money,” says Dr. Crosby.

The phenomenon is called “risk composure” and when you lose it, you disregard your normal attitudes toward risk and tend to make emotional choices that run counter to your best interests.

“We may become over-confident and think we know more than we do,” says Dr. Crosby. “Or become overwhelmed and fail to act. We need to find the middle path between hubris and paralysis.”

That’s where a financial professional can be invaluable, he says.

A behavioral coach

The role of a financial professional as a behavioral coach is often overlooked. One of their greatest values is the ability to remain calm during financial turmoil and keep you from making hasty, ill-considered decisions.

Individuals who work with a financial professional tend to have a written financial strategy, a touchstone that helps keep them centered on long-term goals rather than being pulled in multiple directions by changing economic conditions.1

In fact, the ability to weather the stress of financial disruption depends more on your behaviors than your income. Solid financial habits — such as regularly contributing to savings and seeking financial guidance — can have up to a 30% greater influence on an individual’s happiness and confidence than income.1


Working with a financial professional can help you avoid panic, control your emotions and make confident decisions in the face of economic uncertainty.

That translates into a 3% higher return on average for investors who use financial professionals than for those who go the DIY route.3 Over a lifetime, that can make a huge difference in wealth accumulation.

There are other advantages as well. People who work with financial professionals are three times more prepared for retirement than those who do their own planning, according to Dr. Crosby.

“Financial advice has an emotional impact too,” he says. “Studies show that 61% of those who work with a financial professional say they have peace of mind, compared with just 36% of those who go it alone.”4


Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2022. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY

2022-147701 Exp. 12/2024

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1 Path to prosperity, The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™, 2021.

2 Financial stress can induce drop in IQ, CBC, 2013.

3 Putting a value on your value, Vanguard, 2020.

4 Crosby, D, The Behavioral Investor, 2018.



This material is intended for general public use. By providing this content, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, and their affiliates and subsidiaries are not undertaking to provide advice or recommendations for any specific individual or situation, or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity. Please contact a financial representative for guidance and information that is specific to your individual situation.