Tag Archives: Stress

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Transparency With Diana B.: From Riches to Refugee



Many people tend to dwell on horrific experiences, making it difficult to move forward and live their lives. Others embrace the trauma, using it to build strength and a thick skin. 

In this episode of Transparency, Diana Britton, managing editor of WealthManagement.com, is joined by Kashif “Kash” Ahmed, founder and president of American Private Wealth, an advisory outside of Boston. In 1990 at the age of 17, Kash and his family found themselves at the center of Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussain’s forces, over oil pricing and production disputes. Hussain led Iraq with an iron first for several decades, and Kash’s family, including his father who was instrumental in building Kuwait’s oil industry, was at the top of his list of people to take hostage. Kash went from riches to refugee in a matter of hours. 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • About his six-week journey out of war-torn Kuwait into Pakistan
  • How Kash at a young age learned the importance of sticking to his principles
  • How he learned to embrace these traumatic experiences and be grateful for what he has
  • How he turns his adversity into strength
  • What led Kash to become a financial advisor, and how he dealt with biases against Muslims 
  • And more

Tune in now to learn how to embrace adversity and use it to build strength. 

Editor’s Note: This podcast was recorded before we found out that Kash had contracted COVID-19. Our editors have been in touch with him, and he’s recovering with no extreme symptoms. As with his experience fleeing Kuwait, he’s got a positive attitude, saying on Twitter “#COVID19 – You will not defeat me!” 

Resources:   WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | Contact Diana | American Private Wealth


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Transparency With Diana B.: More Tales From the “Boom Boom Room”



When Julie Johnson started out as a financial advisor at Smith Barney in the 1990s, she was “smiling and dialing” to build up her book of business. She excelled in her rookie year, so much so that she was sought after by another wealth advisor who needed help expanding his practice. She jumped at the chance. But what seemed like a good opportunity turned into a nightmare.

In this episode of Transparency, Diana Britton, WealthManagement.com’s managing editor, is joined by Julie Johnson, former senior vice president of UBS Wealth Management and current president and CEO of XY Communication, an executive coaching and public speaking firm. Julie shares her experiences being a female in a very male dominated industry at a time when there were places like “the boom boom room,” a famous party room at Smith Barney’s Garden City, N.Y. branch. Many women flocked to Wall Street in the ‘90s only to be held down by chauvinists. Julie was at the center of it, as she stayed in a years-long toxic relationship with her male partner, who made inappropriate advances.  

The stress of it all ended up taking a bad toll on her physical health, which eventually led her to leave the industry.

“When you feel so small and so disrespected for so many years, it has a physical and very real physical effect on you,” she says. “We have to give ourselves permission to say ‘no,’ and to get help.”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The story of Julie’s successes and struggles in financial services
  • The negative tendencies of successful financial advisors
  • The importance of taking care of yourself first, before clients
  • How Julie learned to be her own advocate for her health
  • How she found the power to stand up for herself and leave the industry
  • How to let go of the pursuit of perfectionism and seek support
  • And more.

Tune in now to hear how Julie got through these difficult times.

Resources: 

WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | Contact Diana | XY Communication | Julie Johnson LI


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Transparency With Diana B.: Advisors and Mental Health



As a graduate student, Dr. Alden Cass conducted a clinical survey on the mental health of Wall Street’s advisors. Conducted in 1999, the study, titled “Casualties of Wall Street,” examined nearly 50 reps, and found that 23 percent of them exhibited significant signs of clinical depression, while another 36 percent showed mild to moderate symptoms. Interestingly, million-dollar producers were the most dysfunctional when it came to mental health, as they were most prone to burnout.

Financial advisors may even be more prone to stress and burnout today than 20 years ago. These feelings are all too common for today’s advisor, who not only has to manage their own emotions but serve as financial therapists to anxious clients.

In this episode of Transparency with Diana B., your host Diana Britton, managing editor of WealthManagement.com, is joined by Dr. Cass, a licensed clinical psychologist and performance coach who specializes in treating advisors and helping them improve their job performance. 

Dr. Cass uncovers the surprising reality of what it’s like to be an advisor, what contributes most to their mental health issues, and actions you can take to help yourself.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How advisors’ stress levels compare to non-advisors
  • Results from Dr. Cass’ study, “Casualties of Wall Street”
  • Which mental health issues today’s advisors are experiencing
  • Which negative and positive coping mechanisms advisors use
  • How to avoid falling into the trap of depersonalization
  • And more.

Tune in now to learn how to cope with mental health issues in positive ways, where to turn to for support, and how to overcome the stigma associated with seeking therapy. 

Resources:   WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | Contact Diana | Competitive Streak Consulting | Bullish Thinking: The Advisor’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving on Wall Street by Alden Cass | Casualties of Wall Street: An Assessment of the Walking Wounded by Alden Cass et al.Contact Dr. Alden Cass