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Financial Planner v Robo-Advisor v DIY Investing – Which is the Right Choice?

Robo-Advisor v Financial Planner v DIY Investing Checklist

Our time is getting more and more compressed, despite the wealth of apps and fintech advancements designed to help. There’s more to do and, if you’re a DIY investor, there’s the end of year portfolio management updates. This holiday stress might have you thinking that you need some investment management help.

Robo-Adviser v Financial Advisor v DIY investing

If you need investing help there are several alternatives. First, you can hire a fee only financial planner or other type of Certified Financial Planner. Or, you can delve into the heady world of automated investing and choose to invest with a robo-advisor. When making a financial decision, it’s helpful to take stock of your investing skills and preferences first. Here are some guidelines to help you decide whether to turn your investments over to a pro-robo or human or go it alone.

Decide: M1 Finance vs Betterment – Which Robo-Advisor is the Best for Me?

DIY invest if:

You understand the investment markets, properties and volatility.

You grasp the types of available investments – stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, REITS and more.

You have the time to monitor and rebalance your investment portfolio.

You’re level-headed enough not to sell after a market drop and buy at the market peaks.

You have the time to manage, monitor and rebalance your investment portfolio.

You lack investing experience but are willing and able to learn how to invest on your own.

You want to try to beat the average market returns.

You’re a control freak and want to DIY with your own money.

If you want to go it alone, give it a try. If not, check out investing guidelines for robo-advisors and human financial advisors.

Choose the best robo-advisor for you with the Robo-Advisor Selection Wizard.

Invest with a robo-advisor if:

You’re seeking a set it and forget it investment portfolio.

You want a diversified managed investment portfolio that includes international stocks and bonds.

You want a combination DIY and automated investment portfolio.

You want an investment portfolio that will match market returns.

You’re interested in investment management with a robo-advisor with human financial advisor access.

You want automatic investment portfolio rebalancing.

You’re seeking a free or low fee robo-advisor.

You want a robo-advisor for women‘s style and personality.

You want automatic tax-loss harvesting for your taxable account.

You’re seeking access to hedge fund investing and alternative investments, without the management hassle.

You want investment management help, but also the opportunity to invest in individual stocks with a robo-advisor.

You want a digital investment advisor that allows you to view all of your accounts on one dashboard.

You want a digital investment portfolio with access to impact or socially conscious investing.

Robo-advisors aren’t monolithic. The industry has evolved with digital investment managers differentiating themselves. The ‘robo-advisor’ label encompasses a multitude of investment styles and strategies, as well as fee structures.

Bonus: 2019 Best Robo-Advisor Performance

Invest with a financial advisor if:

You have a complicated financial situation.

You need tax, estate planning and business succession advice.

You want hand holding with your investments and easy access to a human to chat with.

You want someone to consult with and an automated manager combined.

You want a fee for service or hourly pay model for your investment management.

You want a detailed and comprehensive financial plan.

You’re willing to pay a bit more for personalized service from an expert Certified Financial Planner.

Free: Financial Management Toolkit, Better Than Quicken

DIY, Robo-Advisor or Financial Planner Wrap Up

Whether you fall into the DIY, robo-advisor or financial planner categories, there is some overlap. For example, several robo-advisors provide access to human financial advisors such as Personal Capital, Betterment, Vanguard, SigFig and TD Ameritrade.

Many individual financial advisors are lowering their fees and offering both human contact and digital investment management.

And, if you’re a DIY investor, M1 Finance allows you to set up your own portfolio with as many types of assets as you desire, and they will rebalance your investments for a low fee. Hedgeable robo-advisor allows investors access to hedge fund investing styles, master limited partnerships, currencies, commodities and more.

Read more: Robo-Advisor v Financial Advisor – Which is Best?

The lines are blurring between robo-advisors, DIY and human financial advisors. Human advisor fees are dropping. You can choose a robo advisor with zero management fees such as Schwab’s Intelligent Advisor and WiseBanyan or one with higher management fees for more sophisticated investment management services.  In fact, the hybrid robo-advisor model combining humans and automated investment management is becoming one of the most popular investment options.

This article was originally posted on TalkMarkets

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Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

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