Do You Need a Financial Professional? 4 Questions to Ask

You’ve confidently spent several years saving money on your own, and you’ve started building up a pretty good nest egg. But as your investment accounts grow larger and your investment strategies get more complex, you face a question that has perplexed many before you: Can I keep doing this all by myself?

“This is a question that many investors struggle with at some point,” said Joe Correnti, senior vice president of brokerage product at Scottrade. “There is no wrong or right answer. Everyone’s situation is different. And for many people, they can do a little of both. They can bring in a professional and still work on their own.”

Correnti outlined several key questions that investors might want to ponder as they consider seeking professional guidance, including solutions offered by Scottrade Investment Management.*

What are your financial goals?

A good starting point for all investors is to have specific financial goals. Those can include long-term goals, like retirement; intermediate-term goals, like saving for education for children; and short-term goals, like taking a vacation.

“While many people have those goals, they’re not completely sure how to align their saving and investing plans with them,” Correnti said. “A professional can help families get to those goals.”

What do you understand?

Perhaps you were confident handling the mutual funds offered in your 401(k) plan at work. But maybe it’s time to consider a Roth IRA or a Traditional IRA. With those accounts, most investment products would be available to you, including individual stocks and bonds.

Are you comfortable researching the best choices for yourself? Would exchange-traded funds make more sense than mutual funds?

“A lot of investment products and services are fairly complex,” Correnti said. “Can people do it all on their own? Absolutely. Millions do, and do it well. But you have to be realistic about your own limitations.”

Do you have time?

So let’s say you understand your goals, and you have a good handle on most investment products and services. Are you sure you can spend the time it takes to manage all of your finances on your own?

“As people get older, their lives become more complex and time becomes a precious asset you never seem to have enough of,” Correnti said. “Investment plans, research and decisions that were once routine for you can become a burden when you’re married with children. What would you do if you could have back the time that you spend managing investments?”

What’s next in my life?

OK, we purposely added a question that cannot be answered. But the point is that while we can plan for the future, we can’t predict it. Even the best-laid investment plans can blow up if life starts throwing you bombshells.

“A professional can help take some of the emotions out of your decision-making process,” Correnti said. “For example, if you suddenly need more money than your emergency fund can handle, you might be inclined to withdraw funds from your IRA or 401(k). But there could be better options.”

Question: How much time do you spend managing your finances?

Read Next: How Many Investment Accounts? Let Your Plan Be Your Guide

Next Step: Scottrade® clients who have questions about professional management can talk to a local Scottrade® Investment Consultant as a starting point. 

*Solutions offered through Scottrade Investment Management involve additional fees.

Guidance Solutions from Scottrade Investment Management and Advisor Access from Scottrade Investment Management™ are investment advisory services offered by Scottrade Investment Management, a registered investment advisor. Brokerage products and services are offered through Scottrade, Inc., member FINRA / SIPC, while advisory services are provided by Scottrade Investment Management. Scottrade Investment Management and Scottrade, Inc. are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Scottrade Financial Services Inc. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business.

Investors should consider the investment objectives, charges, expense and unique risk profile of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or mutual fund before investing. A prospectus contains this and other information and should be read carefully before investing. A prospectus is available through or through a Scottrade branch office. 

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