JW’s Financial Coaching Podcast Lesson #129-When to work with an advisor and when to invest by yourself

  • When to invest yourself and when to have the help of an advisor
  • Why invest yourself?
  • Why to enlist the help of an advisor
  • How an advisor can pay off
  • Quote of the lesson from George Horace Lorimer


Whenever I receive feedback from listeners of the show one of the main topics they would like to cover more is investing. I’m always a little hesitant to discuss investing because I am not a registered investment professional.

Yes I can speak to the differences between a ROTH and Traditional account, a 401(K) and an IRA, stocks vs. bonds vs. cash, and the importance of diversification. But not what specific investment is right for you.

I’ve attempted to learn more and self-educate, but the thing with investing is that if you search around people who are actually qualified, you’ll see that it seems like everyone has a different approach to investing. This makes it hard to decipher which is the right way for you.

Of course there is no one right way, but how do you determine whether an investment is right for you or not? Today we are focusing on whether to invest yourself or hire a CFP or advisor to help you choose. Based on a recent study, it’s about 50/50 on whether or not you invest or have an advisor help you.

When to Invest Yourself

For those of us who invest on our own, we mainly do it by default with our 401(K) at work. We have no clue what to invest, so we pick a few funds and let our co-worker tell us about what they invest in. But there are legitiment reasons to invest in yourself, some of the reasons include:

  • You have self taught yourself investing strategies
  • You have experience with investing
  • Have a level of comfort and understanding
  • Not going to be scared by down turns in the economy or market

When to Invest with an Advisor

  • Just starting out or you have no idea what you are actually doing
  • You find the topic investing very confusing
  • Very impulsive
  • Need help determine what your financial plans for the future are

Again to me, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to investing. There are legit reasons to go at it alone and equally legit reasons to have some advice. Of course it will cost you something to invest with an advisor, but if you aren’t investing or are investing in a product that is under performing, isn’t it worth paying someone to help give you an even bigger return down the road?

Paying a fee isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it is helping you to invest more each year, increasing your rate or return, causing you to knock panic and withdrawl everything over a news event it it well worth it. The fee is bad however if the advisor is just filling out paper work and not really teaching you about investing.

Thing to Remember with Investing

Whenever we do invest in something, either on our own or with an advisor it’s important to know

  1. Why you are investing in it
  2. What’s the investment’s goal and risks
  3. What is the investment’s fee structure

If you know those things with investing you are well on your way. Again I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way. It all depends on your comfort level and knowledge of investing.

In the past Lisa and I have used an advisor to help us out with selecting funds, and we’re not against doing it in the future.

Right now we investing primarily in low cost index funds on our own which keeps the costs down and makes whatever the market is doings. But that’s just us.

My hope is this lesson provides you with knowledge to decide whether to invest on your own or hire an advisor.

Resources mentioned in the show

Today’s quote of the lesson is brought to you by Audible.com

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” – George Horace Lorimer

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