When should I use a financial advisor?

When should I use a financial advisor?

Michael Batnik writes to debunk something that is probably common in a lot of people’s minds. An advisor cannot beat the market any more than you can. If you find an advisor who happens to deliver higher returns once adjusting for risk, then consider yourself lucky. But if that’s your expectation going into a new relationship, then sooner or later you’re going to be disappointed. So if you can’t beat the market and neither can an advisor, then why even bother? Because an advisor can tell you the most important thing. Am I going to be okay? Can I live the type of life I want to live? That’s it. That’s the job.

If you’re not sure you’re ready to have this question answered, below is an incomplete list of ways to know when the time is right.

When You Made A Big Mistake: You know you need to take your hand off the steering wheel when you can no longer be trusted to get to your destination. Past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour. We can learn from mistakes, but you pretty much are who you are. If you panicked last time and convinced yourself you’re going to be fine next time, you’re probably not being honest with yourself.

When you’re worried about your spouse: If you handle the finances in your household and are worried that your spouse would be unprepared to deal them in your absence, it’s probably a good idea to find an advisor. Even if you’re not ready to relinquish control, it makes sense to find somebody that your spouse can turn to in the event of your death.

When you’re tired of it: If you trade stocks long enough, you’ll realize at some point that despite the time, energy, and anxiety of it all, you would have done just as well if not better in an index fund. And if you’re sick and tired of checking prices during the day, of reading headlines at night, and of wondering what the election might mean for your portfolio, then you’re probably ready to hand over the keys.

When you don’t have the time for it: If you work long hours and come home to a family that needs your time and attention, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing out about which fund to buy. Or when is the best time to rebalance? When your life is being pulled in a million different directions, then it might make sense to reach out to a financial advisor.

When the stakes have gotten real: If you’re a young person with an Rs5,000 portfolio, a mistake like panicking in a bear market is something that you can recover from. If you’re older with more money and less time to replenish that lost money, it’s harder to come back from that.

When you feel paralyzed: If you’ve been meaning to sell your underperforming stocks but just can’t pull the trigger, or you’ve been waiting for the right time to put the cash to work, you could probably stand to consult with somebody. If nothing else, taking the emotions out of the equation will force you to finally take action.

When you want to get specific about your goals: If you want to buy a second home in ten years and retire in 20, an advisor can tell you whether or not this is possible. Of course, nobody has a crystal ball, but an advisor’s job is to let you know if it’s possible, or break it to you that you’re not even close.

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