Three Reasons to Hire a Financial Advisor

Why doing it completely by yourself might not be such a good idea

Ah, spring has sprung! The flowers and trees are budding, the birds are chirping and the loud, incessant drone of lawnmowers reverberates throughout the neighborhoods of Mansfield.

As a young teenager, I remember the great sense of satisfaction I experienced when my dad taught me how to cut the grass. I pulled the starter cord and got the lawnmower running all by myself. I pushed the mower in straight-lines in such a way that even Joe Mooney -- the long-time groundskeeper at Fenway -- would be proud. What joy and fun! That is, until dad asked me to cut the lawn the following week. Like most boys, I found cutting the lawn was fun the first time. But after that? Not so much. It became a terrible chore.

Today, I still cut my own grass. I have grown to like the activity. I enjoy being outside. I like walking around my yard. And I still get a sense of satisfaction when the job is done and the green carpet of grass looks nicely manicured. Some folks, however hate cutting the lawn and consequently hire someone to do it instead. Why? There are lots of good reasons:

  • You’re too busy
  • You don’t have the health, skills or tools
  • You would prefer to spend your weekends doing something more fun

Interestingly, these are some of the very same reasons why people hire financial
advisors. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I can confidently tell you that
financial planning is not brain surgery or rocket science. In fact, I believe that most
people are capable of managing their own money. The internet, TV and radio talk-
shows offer no shortage of financial tools, calculators, research and education. But if
you don’t have the time, interest or inclination to focus on your finances, you should
seek professional help.

Here are three warning signs that it is time for you to hire a financial advisor:

1. Procrastination: You know you should fund your IRA, buy that additional life
insurance, or open a 529 college plan, but you just never get around to it. Let’s face
it, we all have too many other things to do, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
If you know you should develop a retirement plan, but find yourself rearranging
your sock drawer instead, it’s time to hire an advisor. Or, if your daughter is five and you’ve been telling yourself since the day she was born that you’ll open that college savings plan, it’s time. A good financial advisor will call you to make sure you don’t miss the IRA deadline, forget to send in your insurance paperwork, or fund yourdaughter’s college savings plan.

2. Disinterest: If the money section of your newspaper never gets read or if your eyes roll in the back of your head when the subject of the economy or finance comes up in conversation, then it’s probably time to get help. If you don’t know the difference between a Roth and a Traditional IRA, or if you think a 401k is a very long running race, it’s time. There is so much information floating around that if you’re really not interested in investments, insurance, taxation and the like, you’ll probably struggle educating yourself on these important matters. One of the great values of a financial advisor is having someone to tell you what you need to know.

3. Lack of Time: A famous Greek philosopher once said, “Time is the most
valuable thing a man can spend”. 1 Just like the golfer who prefers to hire a lawn

company to cut his grass so he spend his time on the golf course each Saturday, some folks prefer to hire a financial advisor so that when they get home from work they can relax, spend time with their family and know that their finances aren’t being neglected. Many people know they could handle their own finances, but either can’t take the time, or don’t want to take the time to do so. If you’re struggling to balance work and family time and find that your financial and retirement goals are being ignored, it’s time to get help.

It’s one thing to let the lawn go and find it overgrown. It’s another thing all together to let your finances go and discover too late that your financial affairs have suffered as a result.

About this column: Steve Davis is a local CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ who has been helping clients for more than twenty years. You can find out more about Steve and his company, Davis Financial at www.talkwithdavis.com

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not
intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Securities offered through LPL Financial Member FINRA/SIPC

1. Theophrastus: “Father of Botany” and student of Aristotle.

Richard Robinson June 01, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Great article Steve. I always enjoy your articles. Very easy to read, practical and very informative. Keep them up. Thanks, Rick Robinson
Stuart Wagonfeld June 02, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Steve, I enoyed reading your article not only for the value of its content, but also for the way you deliver it. I look forward to the next one. Stuart Wagonfeld
Stephanie Comeau June 02, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Steve, Its the last thing we want to do at the time but clearly the most important in the long run to achieve our goals! Great article. Stephanie Comeau
Barry Roos June 02, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Good stuff Steve. Please continue to write as the topic is too important to ignore. I wouldn't mind having you cut my grass either :)
Susan Rooks June 02, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Steve, your articles should be shown to those who wonder "what do I write about?" or "how can I be interesting?" Great stuff, and I'm learning more about a subject I don't much even care about. Great style!
Mike Rego June 03, 2011 at 01:34 AM
Steve, I'm 48 years old and like most people my 401K has shriveled over the last 10 years. I've always had 100% of my retirement accounts in a variety of diversified mutual funds for the last 20 or so years. I've always followed the philosophy of waiting out the highs and lows to get an "average ROI" and assumed that my money would double every eight years or so. With everything that has been going on with the new realities of a "global marketplace" and the impact that other nations economies have on the New York Stock exchange, is this still the prevailing philosophy ? Also, should I have 100% of my money in mutual funds or are there better options these days to protect and grow my retirement accounts ?
HJ June 04, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Mansfield Bank offers a checking account with 1.25% interest. You're better off getting a guaranteed return there, than playing the stock market game.
Neil Rhein June 05, 2011 at 11:18 PM
1.25% is good for your emergency savings or the money you need to pay your bills. But if you're relying on that for your retirement savings, you're going to lose ground to inflation over the long haul. I'm sure Steve would agree (although I'm also sure that compliance regulations will prevent him from giving any specific advice through this forum). If you can't stomach stocks, I'm sure Steve could at least find you some bonds that yield more than 1.25%.
Steve Davis June 06, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Thanks for all the kind comments. Neil is correct; compliance rules don't allow me to offer specific advice over internet discussions like this one. If Mike or anyone else would like to contact me to discuss their own unique situation, I'll be pleased to talk with you confidentially.


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