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One of the Most Depressing Jobs...Ever

Monday, 13 Dec 2010 | 3:20 PM ET

Congratulations, financial advisers and accountants — You've just been named one of the most depressing jobs ever!

John Lund | Blend Images | Getty Images

And in this economy, I'd say that's quite an honor.

Health magazine just named financial advisers and accountants among the most depressing jobs, along with nursing-home workers and food-service staff.

That’s right: Bedpans, half-eaten food — and managing other people’s money.

It’s really a thankless job: No one carries you around on their shoulders when you make them a lot of money, and they’re out for your head when they lose money.

“Money is a very emotional topic for people,” said Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner and owner of JFL Consulting in Fairfield, NJ.

“One of the most frustrating things is that I don’t control a lot of the things people think I control,” Lynch said. “I have absolutely no impact on the stock market — even if I have everything structured correctly, something could still happen in Korea that has an impact on someone’s net worth.”

And, after the past two years — we all know about what sort of “somethings” that can happen that can shave a cool 50 percent off your net worth. Most of us didn’t know who to blame. The recession, the financial crisis — it was all so amorphous. But if you have a financial adviser – Poof! You now have someone to yell at for that giant hole that just got blown in your 401(k).

“It was like taking my son to the hospital when he broke his arm,” Lynch said of having to hold people’s hands through the financial crisis. “He’s sitting there lying in pain … I’m just doing what I can to try to make the pain go away.”

Oof.

And then, just when you feel like someone kicked you in the gut, there’s that giant elephant in the middle of the room — Bernard Madoff, the most famous Ponzi schemer in history, after Mr. Ponzi himself.

Lynch said one in three people who come into his office ask him about Madoff — and the other two are definitely thinking it.

They say things like, “What’s the difference between you and Bernard Madoff?” or something more direct like, “How do I know you’re not going to just take my money?”

“It’s definitely the elephant in the room,” he said. “If they don’t bring it up — I do. Otherwise, on their way out, they’re saying to themselves, ‘I wonder if he’s going to rip me off?’”

So, a financial adviser and an elephant walk into a bar.

Stop me if you've heard this one.

Bartender says to the financial adviser, "How do I know you're not going to just take my money?"

Financial adviser replies, "You know what? Make it a double."

And the elephant says, "What? Why is everyone looking at me?!"

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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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