Sure, you could save a lot of money if you eliminated all the specialized professionals in your life. You could rewire your own kitchen, represent yourself in court, and suture up your next nasty cut. You could, but you probably won’t. Because the benefit of hiring a professional outweighs the cost. The same applies in investing, although many still try to manage their own portfolios. Here are a few reasons to enlist the skills of a full-time professional.
- Tools and technology. Visit the shop of a skilled cabinetmaker and the first thing you’ll notice is many thousands of dollars of specialized planers, joiners, and other tools you don’t even recognize. A serious money manager makes the same kind of investment in state-of-the-art research, asset allocation software and reporting tools.
- Time. Are you prepared to spend three weekends refinishing your hardwood floors, or would you prefer to hire an expert who can be in and out in a couple days? The same time/money trade-off applies in investing. A professional with the right tools and experience can free up many hours of your time and deliver a more reliable product.
- Practice. You could probably remove a benign growth from your arm if you had to, but a dermatologist who’s done it thousands of times before is far less likely to make a mess of it. Same goes for an investment professional who’s designed hundreds of portfolios for a wide range of clients during bull, bear and undecided markets.
- Network. Need a skilled drywall installer? Ask your carpenter, painter or electrician. Likewise, investment pros can provide introductions to the specific attorney, CPA or other advisor who’s right for your unique situation.
- Sourcing. If you need a gorgeous slab of reclaimed redwood for a new mantle, Home Depot’s literally not going to cut it. Professionals can help you determine the right materials to use – from travertine tile to index ETFs – and where to find them at the most favorable prices.
- Checkups. You may pay an arborist, mechanic, vet or dentist hundreds of dollars to periodically take a quick look for warning signs. A trusted investment advisor does the same thing throughout the year, looking for and correcting conditions that may increase risk or hurt returns.
- Calm amid chaos. Unlike a novice do-it-yourselfer, a licensed plumber rarely encounters a situation that can’t be solved. The same can be said for investment professionals who’ve weathered bubbles, booms and Black Mondays. A professional can provide calm perspective in any market calamity.
The internet has made it extremely easy for investors to manage their own portfolios from the comfort of home. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go. As your assets grow, so do the risks of managing your own portfolio. If you’ve been thinking about enlisting the expertise of a professional, give us a call and let’s talk about what’s right for you.
Steve Mott – Guest Columnist, Osbon on the Money Editor
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