With the advent of online personal finance and investment websites, blogs, and social media accounts, many people regularly read about financial matters and try to follow their advice. But there comes a time in savvy financial amateurs' lives when they graduate from online sources to personal financial advisors.
Have you reached this critical point? If you're not sure, here are five indicators it's time to find your own advisor.
1. The Advice Is Basic. Many websites and personal finance blogs offer foundational financial advice on subjects like getting out of debt or increasing savings. However, because this advice is largely geared toward novices, it can be limited to broad, common subjects. Once you've passed these initial steps, you may be ready to learn about more complicated matters like investing and taxes.
2. You See the Same Advice. Generalized financial advice tends to start looking the same from place to place after a while. If you continue to encounter the same suggestions on the same topics, such as using the debt snowball or paying off credit cards each month, start looking for new ideas in a more personalized environment.
3. Your Questions Aren't Answered. As you learn about your own finances and grow in experience, you will naturally start to have more specific questions. Unfortunately, when your source for answers is a generalized blog or book, you may not be able to find answers to these customized questions or scenarios. Instead, look for a real individual with whom you can interact.
4. Your Wealth Has Grown. Have you had success following generic advice and growing your own nest egg? This is now a time to celebrate and start looking at what's next. Managing larger portfolios calls for skilled advice in new tax strategies, investment opportunities now open, and estate planning issues. Most personal finance websites aren't designed to help manage money at this level.
5. They Have an Agenda. When you rely on advice from unknown sources, you don't know their agenda. Online finance sites are usually businesses seeking to make a profit, sell books or other tools, partner with sponsors, and offer classes. This means their financial interests and yours may not be aligned. By working with an individual, you can learn how they are compensated and whether they have a fiduciary responsibility to you.
Do you fall into any of these situations? Then it may be the right time to branch out by hiring your own financial advisor to work with personally. No matter what your goals, level of financial education, or portfolio size, you can build a relationship that will take your finances to the next level.
For more information, contact a financial advisor near you.