You wouldn’t think of being operated on by anything less than a board-certified surgeon. Or going into court without qualified legal representation. Or even repairing your late-model car without a trained mechanic. Then why do so many people believe they can manage their own financial affairs without professional guidance?
Investing is often a complex and confusing process. Even success can throw your investment strategy out of kilter. For instance, let’s say you want to have 60% of your portfolio invested in stocks. If the market does really well and you are realizing higher than expected returns on your stock investments, after a couple of years you may find that you now have 80% of your portfolio invested in stocks, even though you haven’t changed a thing. Without rebalancing to your target asset allocation, you might find yourself getting whipsawed by a volatile market, which happened to literally millions of investors in 2000 through 2002.
No matter what type of investor you are, it’s crucial to keep your plan on track. Revisit your asset allocation periodically (every year or so, depending on market conditions) to determine whether it needs adjustment. You should also periodically re-examine your risk tolerance and investment profile, especially as you get closer to your goal. You may discover you need to tweak your portfolio’s risk exposure over time.
Sitting down regularly to reassess your goals, time frame, and asset allocation allows you to fine-tune your strategy, keep your risk within acceptable levels, and make sure you’re on track. A skilled professional can help you identify investments that not only achieve the greatest absolute return over the years, but also subject you to the lowest overall taxes along the way. Your advisor will also show you how to properly allocate investments among your various accounts and work with you to integrate your investment and financial goals. A truly knowledgeable advisor will also help you stay abreast of developments in the financial marketplace as innovative new products and services become available.
Just as you see your doctor for checkups, your lawyer for legal advice, and your mechanic for tune-ups, consult a qualified financial advisor for financial planning.