The Value of Investing with a Financial Advisor
We understand that it's become very easy to open an online investment account and use a stock market index fund, a target-date fund, or some other investments. And for many individuals, especially those starting their savings/investment journey, this may be enough to meet their needs. However, particularly as someone's financial, tax, and estate planning become more complex, there are many reasons to trust a professional to help with the details.
While you might be able to create an investment account online, it likely won't answer important financial questions such as, am I saving enough to meet my goals? Am I saving into the right areas? Should I focus on saving, or paying down debts? Are my accounts aligned with both my goals and also my estate planning wishes?
Investments are just one piece of your financial puzzle - and working with a professional can help you see the big picture. That way, when an investment portfolio is recommended, you know that it fits into the broader plan. It also helps you determine how much you should be saving, into which type of account, and when you should be making investment changes based on life's transitions.
Investing takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master. Trusting yourself to research all the options and make the right choices for your future can be overwhelming - even if you have a degree in finance. Professional investment advisors are constantly reading and learning about markets, taxes, estate planning, risk profiles, and changes to laws to provide advice to their clients. The world of investing only gets more complicated, so it’s crucial to stay up-to-date.
“Buy low, sell high” is the mantra for any good investor. Sounds easy, right? In reality, most DIY investors suffer from emotional decision making. They hold onto winning stocks too long and sell off their dogs at the bottom of the market. It’s difficult to be emotionally unattached when it’s your money on the line, and that’s why millions of people around the world trust an advisor to make decisions on their behalf. It’s all too easy to fall into emotional traps when it comes to your money, and a good advisor can help you through the ups-and-downs of the market.
One of the most overlooked aspects of investment strategy is taxes. The tax code is thousands of pages and makes for dense reading for an amateur investor. Professional advisors strive to maximize your after-tax returns without paying too much (or worse, not enough!) to the government. This includes tax planning, both now and for the future, to help determine where your savings should go (pre-tax accounts? Roth? After-tax?). Tax-planning can be especially valuable once someone is retired and starting to withdraw from their investment accounts. Withdrawing from certain investments may help minimize your taxes, whereas a large withdrawals from pre-tax accounts (401ks, Traditional IRAs) may have adverse tax impacts if not properly planned for.
Active vs. Passive
A key distinction for investors is whether you want a passive investment strategy or an active one. The difference is simple - active means making calls on the market, and passive relies on broad market positions without a lot of trading activity over time. Over many years of research and market data, it's been proven that it is extremely hard to time the market - and an active DIY investor can make costly mistakes such as chasing returns (buying a recent winner at the end of a good run) or taking on too much risk without enough diversification (focusing on too few stocks). However, an investment professional can help build a portfolio that is founded on years of academic research and is properly diversified within your desired risk level. Even passive investors can benefit from advice from an investment professional to make sure that they are being tax-efficient, diversified, and have the proper risk for their time frame and goals.
Lastly, the best value from working with a professional advisor is free time. Most of us investors just want to save and get our money working for us. Let the professionals do the heavy lifting when it comes to research, strategy, and education. Life is short - do you really want to spend your free time reading charts and tax tables?
I still want to manage the investments myself. Can an advisor still help me?
We understand that some people will still want to handle their own investments, but might benefit from professional advice. For these individuals, we offer fee-based financial plans. This allows us to build a goals-based plan incorporating tax, retirement, and estate planning but without managing the investments. If this option appeals to you, contact us below to learn more.
*This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2023 Advisor Websites.