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You Could Do Your Own Financial Planning, But Should You?

Drew Harper, CFA, CFP®
February 26, 2020

From making travel plans to scheduling appointments to shopping for everything from shoes to groceries, apps make our lives easier. There are even apps to manage your investments. You could spend hours of your own time researching and moving money around, but still be left wondering if you’ve done the right thing. How do you know?


Your financial future isn’t something you should second guess. Working with a qualified investment advisor can not only give you confidence, but may allow you to benefit from additional value they provide. According to Vanguard’s* research, working with a financial advisor may also add about three percentage points of value to your net portfolio returns over time.


Financial advisors have the experience and resources (beyond the newest hot app) to evaluate your portfolio investments. They’ll take the time to meet with you one-on-one to discuss your personal goals and make adjustments as needed. This personalized approach to creating a diversified portfolio is critical.


A financial advisor can also help ensure you don’t pay too much for investments or in taxes on any returns. They’re here to help you sort through the confusion and make decisions based on sound investment strategy.


Potentially less cost and lower risk for you? It could be hard to see a downside of using a financial advisor.

Your Personal Coach

One of the biggest roles a financial advisor plays for clients is that of behavioral coach. When the markets experience turbulence from time to time, it’s easy to think that you need to start moving money. We have seen this happen time and again. Statistics show a knee jerk reaction to market volatility isn’t wise, but sometimes we need someone to talk us through the process.


Data from December 2019 shows that money was moved out of equities at a historic level despite a 25% yearly gain for the S&P 500. In total, more than $130 billion was drawn from equity funds in 2019, making it the largest year of outflows on record. Why? According to the Wall Street Journal, analysts say the trend highlighted investors’ apprehension toward a stock market buffeted by the long-running U.S.-China trade war and lingering worries about a potential recession.


A financial advisor will listen to your concerns, guide and advise you, and encourage you be the investor who stays the course.

People First

At the end of the day, after all the time we spend to research, study, and analyze the markets, we know that our business is really about the people – getting to know our clients, their families, their businesses – and what is most important to them. After that, things tend to fall into place, and we create the best possible plan to achieve their goals.


We always emphasize that all investing is subject to risk, and of course, there is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or mix of funds will meet your investment objectives or provide you with a given level of income, but here is what a qualified financial advisor could bring to the table:

  • Constructing a portfolio designed and maintained to match your risk tolerance, optimize tax efficiency, and help you reach your goals.
  • Helping you stick to your long-term plans and not make decisions based on market fluctuations and anxiety.
  • Creating a personalized financial plan that incorporates every phase of your life.

There’s just no app that can do all of that.


We’d love to know how M.J. Smith & Associates can add value to your financial future. Contact us today!

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* "The Added Value of Financial Advisors," The Vanguard Group, Inc., 2014

Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market.

The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Any opinions are those of Drew Harper and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor’s results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Future investment performance cannot be guaranteed, investment yields will fluctuate with market conditions.

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