We are now in the heart of tax season, and many of us have our taxes prepared by a Tax Accountant or CPA. In the same way we hire a plumber if we need a pipe unclogged, an attorney to write our wills and prepare other legal documents, an electrician for electrical work, and a mechanic to work on our cars. However, many balk at the idea of hiring a Financial Advisor to assist with investment planning or future money goals.
There are a million websites, and probably twice that many internet “experts” who will tell you that you certainly can do your own investing and will provide you with the tools to do so. There are all sorts of questionnaires, worksheets and charts available to give you a “suggested” or “appropriate” allocation for your investment portfolio.
While these options may look easy, there are some concerns. Who exactly helps to choose the investments in that portfolio? Who talks about the risk/return associated with each individual holding? Of course, you could (and should) educate yourself about the choices you are making regarding these important financial matters; but wouldn’t it help to have a professional to guide you?
Most people we speak with are capable of learning many of the above professions; but their time is stretched as they work in their own field, take care of their homes and families AND try to have some down time. It’s for those reasons that we don’t all do our own plumbing, wire our own houses, or work on our own cars.
Working with a financial professional should be a collaborative effort. Your advisor will work to know you in order to assist you in identifying your goals. She (or he) will help to educate you on your options so that you can make well-informed and considered choices for pursuing those financial goals.
As you keep your advisor up-to-date on changes in your life or financial situation, they can then help you adjust your plan or holdings to keep you on course towards meeting your changing financial needs or goals.
Finding an advisor that you are comfortable with is very important. I recommend asking friends or family for referrals and take time to meet with and interview more than one advisor. It is fair to ask them about their experience, education and licensing. You may also ask them if they have references. It is also important to discuss fees, and how the advisor is paid.
An additional resource is the finra.org website, where you can look up any advisor on Broker Check. This site gives information on all licenses held, prior employment, as well as any disciplinary actions that an advisor may have been involved in.
You may be able to navigate the financial and investing world on your own, but why would you want to?