One of the lessons most successful advisors have learned is that they should seek out clients who are like them: people with the same values, goals and interests. People with whom they have a natural rapport. 

Some advisors do this by trial and error. Some do it consciously. Some ignore the advice outright—and set a course for burnout. 

But there’s a reason for taking that kind of approach when you realize how much time you actually have to spend with your clients. Time is the most valuable commodity you possess. To get the most out of your personal and professional life, it is imperative that you use your time as effectively as possible. 

That sounds obvious, but it can also be vague. So let’s put it in terms of tangible goals—perhaps you want to earn $1 million a year consistently. First you must figure out how much you need to be paid per hour. Before you can do that, you need to figure out how many hours you work a year. 

There are 365 days per year. Subtract 104 days for all the weekends, and that gives you 261 days. Subtract 20 vacation and personal days and nine holidays, and that leaves you 232 days to run your practice.

In a standard eight-hour day, how much time do you really have to spend with clients? Even with a great team, you must spend some time in other areas besides relationship management. After dealing with financial management, office management and referral development, a good estimate is that you have five hours a day to spend on your clients.

Five hours times 232 days equals 1,160 hours for the entire year. If you want to earn a million dollars, simple math shows that you must net about $862 per hour (1,160 hours times $862 equals $1 million). 

That means considering your payout and average assets under management per client. For example, if you have a 100 basis point payout for your clients, you need 100 clients with average assets under management of $1 million. Or you need 200 clients with average assets under management of $500,000, and so on. 

We realize that one financial advisor’s production and net can be very different from another’s. However, by understanding the basic moving pieces, you can determine the number of clients you would need given your revenue and net.

Now to determine the amount of time you can spend with a client, simply divide your total available hours by your total clients. In simplest form, if you have 100 clients and 1,160 available hours, you can afford to spend 11.6 hours per year with each client.