Investing Unit 10: Getting Help

December 01, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF




You may not have the confidence, time, or motivation to wade through stacks of information to make investment decisions. Creating your team of financial professionals and establishing a trusting relationship with each of them can reap significant benefits. This section will get you started, and help you make wise investment choices.

Why, When, and How Often?

Financial advisors can save you time. All of us would like to put our hard-earned money to work making more money. But searching through the maze of investment options may take too much of your time. Financial advisors can get specialized information for you quickly. Maybe you’ve developed a financial plan yourself and want an opinion from someone with more experience than you, or you need to improve your current financial situation and don’t know where to start. Financial advisors also are helpful if you have an immediate need or unexpected life event such as a severe illness, birth, death in your family, or an inheritance.

Seeking financial advice is like seeing a physician for your health. Just as most people need an annual physical exam, at least an annual review of your financial situation, including your investment portfolio, is a good idea. When the markets are showing extreme volatility, or you have a significant change in life circumstances (e.g., birth of a child, divorce, severe illness or disability, or death of a spouse), more frequent assessment of your investments is recommended. Just as you call on a physician when you have a particular need, you may also need a financial advisor to help with such issues as tax preparation, buying insurance to protect against catastrophic loss of property, or drawing up a will or trust.

When and how often you seek financial advice really depends on the complexity of your financial situation. The bottom line is that having someone to call at the right time, for the right purpose, who is familiar with your situation, and can lead you to an informed decision, is invaluable.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.