Financial Advisors - Yes or No?

Updated on September 15, 2012
E.M. asks from Chicago, IL
14 answers

My husband recently rec'd his annual bonus. In past years, there were things we needed to spend it on, but we are now (thankfully) in a place where we can put some of it away. (We have a low interest rate on our mortgage, so no need to put it towards our principle, or pay off any debt.)

I am not very well educated in investing. I can be controlling and my husband can be impulsive, which is not a good combo for making joint decisions about this stuff when I don't feel confident in my knowledge of it all.

I have 3 choices: let him do it and trust he doesn't do anything too risky, educate myself, so I can feel more confident about the choices we make, or get a financial advisor to guide us in these decisions.

Anyone ever hire a financial advisor and regret it? Anyone feel like it was the best thing they ever did for their finances?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I think that you might just enjoy a bit of the money too. I always like to just have that freedom to see something and get it every few years or so. It doesn't happen much anymore. I remember buying an Asko washing machine for $799 back in the early 90's before life changed and feeling so giddy because there was no guilt!

Decide on an amount that is going away to invest or store then allow hubby to have some and you take some too> you can stick it in the bank and let it make money if that's what you are comfortable with. Otherwise you might just make an appointment with someone that does the advising to see what some options are.

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answers from New York on

I work in the financial services industry and the biggest mistake people make is using an advisor who doesn't charge you a fee. IF he's not charging a fee he's making a commission - which isn't bad in itself - but it does not provide an unbiased opinion.

Lucky you that you have this money to begin a nest egg!

Do you have retirement savings like a pension or 401(k)? If so he should be contribution the maximum allowable to that first. Only then look at this lump sum for other investing.

Does your husband have any financial training? Is his education in finance or economics in any way?

Most people do much better in managed mutual funds than by investing on their own. Also, if you're younger than 50 you should invest some of the money in more risky alternatives. Higher risk = higher eventual returns - as long as it's not invested with "some guy", a friend's bar, or all in one start-up company stock. Once your next egg has grown after a few years and you have the luxury to withstand some loss then it's time to consider investing in individual stocks. But if you don't understand it then it's not the right investment.

Personally my account with Fidelity (split amongst about 6 different mutual funds - some conservative some high risk) is outperforming my friends' broker accounts in selected individual stocks. My reasoning for investing this way is that the people who run the funds know a whole lot more than I do about investing and they get paid to monitor and adjust the funds daily as needed while I have other things to do - like work, raise my family and care for my elderly mother, etc.

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answers from New York on

I love my financial advisors. Yes I do have more than one. I'm working on two goals simultaneously and each advisor is playing their role in helping me reach my goal.

A financial advisor will look at your total financial picture and not just deal with this bonus. Both of my advisors recommended having 6 months to 1 year salary saved for emergency before thinking or actually investing.

I would also recommend educating yourself and being involved in any decision around this money and all household money and the same goes for hubby. I hope this helps and congrats on the windfall.

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answers from Miami on

Well, let me first disclose that I am a Financial Advisor. I got into this field from higher education because I felt that I did a lot of financial advising working in a university environment but wasn't being paid to do financial advising. I view myself as an educator. It is my job to work with my client to help them develop a good solid financial plan and implement it based upon their comfort level. Then it is my job to keep track of the market and general economy on their behalf and check in regularly if tweeks need to be made or if the client has a change in their life (birth, death, divorce, change of job type of change).

Honestly, I wish I had hired a financial advisor before I became one! Even now, I have my own financial advisor because as TF/Plano Allen said, it helps to keep your own emotions out of it. Just as I wouldn't treat my own children if I were a surgeon - it is useful to have my own financial advisor to bounce things off.

Best wishes,

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answers from Sacramento on

Definitely, definitely get a financial advisor! DH and I just don't have time to research all of our financial options and we found it extremely useful to talk to an advisor who could outline everything for us in a way that's easy to understand. Ours is the same age as us (I was surprised when I met him to realize we knew each other ages ago in college!) and completely understands our priorities in saving for college, retirement and general savings. We feel really good knowing we've making smart decisions with the right amount of risk and caution.

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answers from Chicago on

Nope, the money you lose in fees won't be gained by them. Put the money in an index fund. They out perform financial advisors.

If I won the lottery or something and had just bunches of money, sure I'd hire an advisor, the to win the game, you need to cut the fees. Advisors are unnecessary fees.

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answers from Dallas on

My husband and I are both on the same page with financials as far as our investments, college fund, retirement, etc.

He is very knowledgable regarding the markets, various mutual funds, types of investing, keeping diversity, etc. He's very much a numbers man and he analyzes the markets and funds daily. That said, we STILL use our financial advisor.... we make the decisions on how much we put where but when you have an advisor, for us, they help balance things out and keep your personal emotions out of it.

Example... when you are making the financial decisions yourself, you become more emotionally involved in the transactions, especially if you are in a high due to something being a great place to be at the right time and to the lows of something not working out as well as you thought perceived on the fund earnings ratio, status, etc.

A financial advisor is someone you can bounce things off of, gain more insight and education regarding your investments. We are glad we have our advisor and keep in mind, he follows what WE want to do, he just weighs the pros and cons and sometimes will suggest that we might want to put more or less into a certain area. He also has a network which allows him some financial access to information faster than we get it and in turn, we can make financial moves quicker due to his knowledge. By him getting insight early, I am talking about public reports that are published by the banks, etc that help him determine if we need to make a move.. NOT some blacklist report that is behind the scenes because that is illegal.

If you are not financially knowledgable, you do not need to proceed alone. There are so many risks, fees you may not realize are around, dealing with IRS, etc. An advisor can help you get educated and help you figure out how risky you want to be in a certain area at a certain time or you decide if you need to be sitting on cash with a decent interest.

For us it is a balance and it helps keep the emotions out of it.

Bottom line you need diversity and balance. We carry cash, mutual funds that are a little risky to very risky to not risky at all, real estate, bonds and numismatics. We don't deal with penny stocks... not worth our time. We pick a good stock and have our options placed on it to sell at a certain level. Don't be greedy... Ex.. Apple is at an all time high. We are not unhappy that we sold when we did because we made a lot of money and we see now that we could have made a lot more but that is ok... we could have lost it all.

Don't take high risk with any $ you are not willing to lose 100%.

I would suggest that you speak with a financial advisor.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

We have one. Best decision we EVER made! Hire him, learn the tricks and tips, and then if you want to discontinue service, thats your right. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you think education is expensive, try paying for ignorance.

I have been trading and investing for the past 40 years. I didn't start trying to get well educated in trading and investing until about 10 years ago. It cost my family dearly.

Your profile doesn't say how old you and your husband are other than you have a 3 year old child.

You should make investment based on your age. The younger you are the more risky the investments. Other than that you don't give us enough information to really give you good advice.

Look up Jim Cramer and read his latest books. He can teach you (a beginner) a lot.

My wife likes a sure thing. I have her IRA in stocks that pay a 14% dividend. I am willing to take more risk for a better return. But you can't tell what you need to invest in until you know more about the market. Read Cramer's books.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

yes get one, but interview at least want to get a good feel and have them be a good fit


answers from Norfolk on

Educating yourself is always a good option but it needs to be ongoing as far as finances are concerned.
We've never had enough money where we felt a financial adviser would benefit us.
If we ever win a really huge lottery - yeah, we'd hire one.
I don't know how big this bonus is, but if it were me (and I'm admittedly cautious with money), I'd put it in a CD in a some credit union for right now.



answers from Chicago on

I would set aside some for a vacation and use thr remainder to pay down the principle on my home.



answers from San Francisco on

I would hire an advisor but also so you can understand whats going on. Friends of ours were going to be able to retire early, and did for a minute. They moved a lot of stock that they had from their work over into shopping malls. For a couple of years their portfolio grew big time. Unfortunately their advisor wasn't following the dailies close enough, nor them, and when the market crashed so did their savings. They lost all of the gain and a lot of what they put into it. They are still trying to get it back 4 years later. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

I have had a financial advisor since I was in my mid-twenties. Never regretted it. A good financial advisor can really help you focus your plans and get everything set up for you with a minimum of effort.

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