So when should you call an advisor? If you are in your 20s and your only retirement account is a 401k, you probably don’t need to pay for advice. While an advisor would likely be able to get you started on the right track, you could find the same basic information using a simple retirement calculator and doing a little reading. As more complicated situations arise, a financial advisor can provide more value. Whether you have the time, interest, desire, and knowledge to manage your complete financial plan alone are important factors to consider. According to a survey published by ING Direct, almost half of investors reduced or eliminated their relationships with their advisors in 2010. In that same survey, 47% of investors over the age of 40 said they rely on financial websites and blogs to plan for retirement and make investment decisions. That does not sound like a recipe for success. One of the dangers of the internet is having just enough information to make a mess of things. Playing spin the bottle with Jim Cramer, Suze Orman, and Rick Santelli might sound like a fun way to invest, but you might be disappointed with the results.
If you are unsure whether a financial advisor is right for you, you can start by asking yourself a few questions.
- Have you left a path of orphaned 401k plans in your wake?
- Do you have a solid understanding of the amount of money you need in order to retire?
- Are you disciplined enough to manage your money based on reason and not emotion?
- Do you have the time to do the necessary research and then monitor and evaluate your investments?
- Can you navigate the various types of retirement strategies to find the one that best suits your needs?
The task of creating and implementing a plan, researching investments, and monitoring your accounts can be overwhelming.
If your eyes have glazed over just reading through those questions, you might want to consider teaming up with an advisor.