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Fly Solo or Financial Pro: Is an Investment Advisor Right For You?

Some investors like to self-direct their portfolios, but for others, working with a professional money manager might make more sense. Which is for you?

https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/Flying solo vs. financial professional, investment advisor
5 min read
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Key Takeaways

  • Personalized investment management is more accessible to everyday investors than ever before
  • If you don’t have the time or resources to commit to researching and managing your portfolio, professional help may make sense

Personalized investment management used to be reserved for only the wealthiest. But that’s no longer the case. Today, there are a broad range of products and services that offer professional investment advice to investors of all types. Some individual investors look at all the available choices as an opportunity to customize strategies to fit their objectives, while others may find it a challenge to wade through it all. 

Are you the type who's willing to to invest on your own or would you rather go with a pro?

A do-it-yourself investor needs to consider that they’re potentially taking on an extensive and ongoing time commitment. Some people like self-directed investing and are willing to put in the time.

Individuals who want to spend less time managing their portfolio often choose to work with a professional investment advisor. In addition to offering investment advice, these consultants can serve as a sounding board and confidante, which might potentially offer reassurance during market fluctuations and useful in maintaining a steady course during rough investing weather. And, contrary to what you might think, there are financial professionals for many budgets; many of whom tailor their fees based on account size. The key is to shop around to find the one that offers the services you want at a price that suits you.

The approach you choose might come down to your own need or desire to have human support versus an objective asset allocation plan that can’t necessarily address to your concerns, but can still be built with your sensitivities and goals in mind.

Doing It Yourself

If you’re an investor with simple goals, you may decide to manage your investments on your own, in which case, you might consider creating a portfolio that offers broad diversification. Two possible solutions that an investor might want to consider are mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). If you’re participating in your employer’s retirement plan, you’re likely already investing in them; although, mutual funds are the most common investment choice for these plans. Unlike your employer’s plan, which may only offer a handful of funds, you have a much broader list of choices for your individual portfolio based on your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. To help narrow down the choices, TD Ameritrade provides the Premier List, powered by Morningstar Investment Management, which includes top pick mutual funds that offers investors access to a diversity of funds to help them better pursue their investment goals. Additionally, TD Ameritrade offers the ETF Market Center with access to ETF screeners to assist clients in their search for ETFs to match their financial goals.

Seeking a Helping Hand

When you add in spouses, kids, home ownership goals, and more on top of retirement and other concerns, it typically requires a more comprehensive solution. If you’re looking for an integrated service that combines investment decisions with insurance expertise, real estate knowledge, a money manager or investment advisor, and tax and estate planning, a investment advisor might be worth considering. Advisors are a diverse group, ranging from wealth planners assisting wealthy families with multimillion dollar estates, to financial firm representatives who have broadened their product offerings, to independent registered investment advisor, many of whom are Certified Financial Planners(CFP®). Financial consultants often work with broker platforms, so you can keep your accounts on the platform you know and continue to monitor them easily. TD Ameritrade clients can get help connecting with a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) through our AdvisorDirect® referral program, which offers introductions to independent RIAs

Managing Your Finances Both Ways

If you want to manage most of your household finances yourself, seeking assistance for your investment strategy with the help of an investment consultant or an investment advisor might be something to consider, and you have several levels of service to choose from:

  • Automated investment solutions (robo advisor). This has become a popular option, as it combines low cost with a level of customization. Essential Portfolios, offered by TD Ameritrade Investment Management LLC, uses innovative technology to build and manage low-cost ETF portfolios. A client answers a few questions about their investment goals and risk tolerance to receive a portfolio recommendation to suit their financial goals. The portfolios are professionally managed and automatically rebalanced so the ongoing time commitment is minimal. 
  • Managed portfolio solutionsSelective Portfolios offered by TD Ameritrade Investment Management LLC combines human insights with an online experience to help an investor pursue their goals.  The model portfolios are monitored and automatically rebalanced for the investor, and financial consultants are available to offer guidance an support. 
  • Tailored portfolio solutions. This is a high-touch, high-tech solution where products like Personalized Portfolios from TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC blend one-to-one advice with technology to create a unique investment portfolio tailored to your financial situation. 

All of the managed portfolios offered by TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, are goal-oriented portfolios built on recommendations from the professionals at Morningstar Investment Management, LLC. TD Ameritrade Investment Management professionals provide ongoing monitoring, allocation, and rebalancing.

Investors today have more choices than ever before for creating an investment strategy that aligns with their goals. To keep from getting overwhelmed, walk through your own level of knowledge and interest and think about how much time you can devote to researching investments. Then, before signing on any dotted lines, consider the suitability of the investment solution you’re selecting, and make sure you understand its fee structure and access to human support.


Key Takeaways

  • Personalized investment management is more accessible to everyday investors than ever before
  • If you don’t have the time or resources to commit to researching and managing your portfolio, professional help may make sense

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