A 2014 study found that investors who used professional help in setting up or managing their accounts had returns 3.32 percentage points higher than those of people who went at it alone, even after taking fees into account. But why might that be the case?
Professionals have a wide base of financial knowledge. For example, certified financial planners (CFPs) have to pass a national test from the CFP Board of Standards covering insurance, investments, taxation, employee benefits, retirement and estate planning, while meeting experience requirements and abiding by a code of ethics. These professionals can inform you of options you may not have known existed while coming up with financial strategies you might not have realized on your own.
They will start by helping you come up with a personalized financial/retirement plan.
This plan will focus on your current expenses, tax rates, annual returns, life expectancy and virtually everything you need to fully understand where you are, where you are going and if you are going to make it, writes U.S. News & World Report contributor Kelly Campbell.
It saves you physical and mental effort. Going the do-it-yourself route for investing can be tricky. Not only does it require a lot of time to research and set up on your own, but you have to monitor your portfolio as well. That leads to the topic of market conditions and how you handle fluctuations. Do you have the discipline to adjust to these changes?
In a survey by Natixis Global Asset Management, 65 percent of investors say they struggle to avoid making emotional decisions about their money during market shocks, says Donna Rosato of Money magazine.
Similarly, an objective investment adviser with a deep knowledge of the current market can help keep your expectations grounded.
Investments are just the tip of the iceberg. You should consider enlisting a financial adviser who can do more than manage your investments, Rosato says. A certified financial planner takes a more holistic approach to your retirement readiness. [This professional] can help you figure out whether you are on track with your savings and how other investment options, such as Roth and traditional individual retirement accounts, fit into your retirement plans.
These professionals will explain to you the pros and cons of various options, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, and they can point you toward other experts, such as attorneys, to help you further execute your plan. Theyll also review your progress periodically to make sure your plan remains on track, and advise you if they recommend any changes.
With the many benefits a CFP and other financial professional brings to the table, it is no wonder people see higher returns on their investments the investment in the market itself and the investment of hiring an expert to help them.