After I had completed my first serious condo makeover the phrase “Do it Yourself” changed its meaning for me. I figured I had been supported, advised and encouraged along the way by a couple of dozen helpful people, and I couldn’t have done it myself without them. At the paint store I was given advice on what kind of paint to use and what colours to put on my walls, and bought a book full of different room settings which inspired me to scrap my own ideas and start over. At the building supply store I watched a demonstration of how to lay hardwood floor, then went home and did it myself. At the lighting store I was shown a gazillion styles of light fittings, and came out with a far better idea of what to do than I went in with. I don’t know how many web sites I visited and magazines I bought, checking out ideas and tips from all over. When my friends saw the finished job and said “So you did all this yourself, Paul?” I smiled and mentally tipped my hat to all my willing helpers.
But isn’t this always the case, in any major enterprise? Why should you ever believe that you can learn to play the violin, or run a marathon, or become a five star chef all on your own? Ignoring all the experience and special knowledge that other people are very happy to pass on to you?
In my work as a Financial Advisor I often hear of people who have taken it upon themselves to run their own investment programs, and I know that many of them suffered badly when the hi-tech market melted down. I blame that on lack of experience. The stock markets regularly pass through cycles of boom and bust, and an experienced investor knows how to use the boom and avoid the bust, and to protect the portfolio by balancing risky investments with solid dependable investments. And that’s the kind of knowledge that can’t be acquired in your spare time.
To set up a long-term financial program for you or for your family requires many kinds of expert input. Investment is just one of them. You’ll also need advice on how to arrange your affairs to minimize the amount of tax you pay. I’m not talking scams or even loopholes: I mean the legitimate right of all citizens to interpret the tax regulations to their advantage.
And believe me, that requires expert knowledge. And then, especially if you have a family, there’s the need for insurance to tide you over if bad things happen — and give you peace of mind as long as they might happen.
That’s why, like me with my do-it-yourself project, I am convinced you will enjoy greater financial security and enjoy a more comfortable retirement if you make use of the services of a financial advisor. Preferably one who is not attached to one of the big financial institutions. To them, you are just a client number with a PIN attached. To an independent financial advisor you are a unique individual, with your own special needs and goals in life.