How you answer these questions will determine if you're a do-it-yourself investor or if you need to find a good planner. (To find a qualified fee-only planner in your area, go to the website for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors or ask friends and relatives you trust for referrals.) And remember, even if you go the planner route, it's still your money. It's your responsibility to become educated about the decisions you and your adviser make.
3 tasks to get you started on investing basics whether you choose to hire a planner or not
- Do you enjoy reading about investing and keeping up on market news?
- How do you feel about risk? (Jean's take: Women are naturally more reluctant to take risks with their money. That can mean you miss some good opportunities if you're going it on your own. A good planner can lay out the options and help you find investments that will earn you money at a risk level you're comfortable with.)
- Will you have the time to keep up with the investments you make?
- Do you like the idea of having complete control over your money?
- Are you at a particularly busy time in your life? Has a big change happened recently?
- Does this statement describe you: "I'm certainly interested in having enough for retirement and earning a good return on my savings, but when it comes to the details, my eyes glaze over. I'd rather do just about anything else."
- Do you have trouble with the idea of trusting someone else with your money? (Jean's take: Hiring someone to make decisions about your hard-earned cash certainly seems like a risky move. How can you find someone you trust? But the truth is, there are plenty of professionals out there who will truly help you meet your financial goals.)
- Are you intimidated by money and all the jargon that goes with it? (Jean's take: Too often women worry that they'll look stupid, so they avoid getting the help with their money that they need.)
- Are you worried that a financial planner may be too aggressive and will push you to put your money in investments that are too risky for your taste?
- Who can help you find a good financial planner? A family member or friend who swears by theirs? A professional organization? A colleague?