Are you suffering from PTSD?

According to a new study, it is highly likely that anyone who was a financial adviser during the 2008 GFC, has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A report in the Journal of Financial Therapy, by Bradley Klontz and Sonya Britt of Kansas State University, measured the stress experienced by financial planners during the GFC and found that 93% struggled with medium to high stress levels, and nearly 40% reported severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Although 86% are satisfied or very satisfied with their profession now, nearly half of the 56 financial planners surveyed said the crisis led them to question their profession and “how to help people create the life they want.”

PTSD was defined in the study as a disturbance that “must last for over one month and cause significant impairment in one's ability to function at work or in relationships” following a traumatic event.

Nearly 70% of respondents said they thought about their stress even when they didn't mean to, and some 67% said they had "waves of strong feelings about it."

 “I have always loved my work and clients, but this crisis has me questioning everything and whether I have done much good for anyone… Having clients crying in my office, divorcing, losing sleep and looking like they've been punched in the gut has been hard to handle…It’s just tough to feel like I have any answers for anyone,” said one adviser.

The study pointed out that while symptoms of PTSD have disappeared for a majority of financial planners since the crisis, the lessons learned by such planners have profoundly changed their behaviour. Many planners increased their risk taking during the crisis, but were now rethinking those strategies.

A 2011 survey completed by 1,090 advisers found 83% of planners would make at least one adjustment to client portfolios in the future, abandoning risky buy-and-sell strategies in favour of more tactical asset management.

How did the GFC affect you and the way you conduct business?