You leave most of what you do to experts — for most, even your car gets washed by someone with access to better machinery. But you’re still trying to take care of your own money. Because the thought of giving a portion of it to an advisor right off the top — when he or she isn’t going to sweat, put in visible elbow grease or turn on a big machine — drives you nuts, right? But what if there is a big machine, you worry, and the financial advisors/advisers know how to work it? Then you’re a fool to go it alone. So which is it?
The big question is: does the financial advisor’s fee outweigh what he/she delivers in gains? This is hard to know sometimes, because of market fluctuations. But over time it’s easier to figure. Here’s a little calculation to do. The S&P 500, which most financial advisers measure their performance against, shows a 61.61% 10 year return. Did you do as well? But even financial pros like Clark Howard admit that “in the past, it may have been difficult to navigate lifelong financial planning without hiring a professional. But thanks to our constantly connected digital world, it’s not unreasonable to take a do-it-yourself approach with your money.” So DIYers: be confident (and save some fees), but keep vigilant.
[Note: It’s also important to determine how you pay an advisor. A “Fee Only” financial advisor won’t be incentivized to put you in certain investments for commission reasons.]