Financial Planning: Should You Do It Yourself? | Fee-Only Financial Planners Long Island

Financial Planning: Should You Do It Yourself?

DIY_shutterstock_119205142By Kelley Caponigro
Assistant to the Chairman & CEO

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair, American Oil Well Firefighter (1915-2004)

Google the words “Do It Yourself” and your screen will flood with articles and videos about building outdoor furniture, fixing leaky faucets, and crafting unique Halloween costumes. Popular sites like YouTube and Pinterest have made online tutorials interesting and easy to follow. Unfortunately your financial well-being can differ greatly from your neighbor or relatives, and a budget or retirement plan that works for one family may not fit the needs of another. While there are some financially savvy folks that have the knowledge and time to go it alone, most investors prefer to speak with a professional. After all, most folks are not interested in do it yourself dentistry or surgery.  We seek out professionals for help when the consequences of one wrong move can be catastrophic to one’s wellbeing. It’s much the same for financial planning.  Not sure which category you fall under? Answer these questions to find out if you’re ready to take the reins or need to hire a financial advisor.

  1. DO YOU HAVE THE TIME? Not only does the act of implementing a financial plan take time, but if you’re not a licensed professional, there’s a massive learning curve. Most advisors take part in rigorous education and testing to earn credentials such as Certified Financial Planner® (CFP). They are tasked with learning about and understanding all parts of their industry. Do you have the time to read, research, interpret and implement the ins and outs of personal finance?
  2. CAN YOU CHECK YOUR EMOTIONS AT THE DOOR? It’s a known fact that emotions and money do not mix. Probably the most difficult part of dealing with the stock market is not jumping ship when it starts to go down. Will you be able to separate your emotions from your money, and ride out the ups and downs of the market without moving your investments during crucial times?
  3. CAN YOU PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED? Change is a part of life. Things like marriage, buying your first home, unexpectedly losing a job, relocating, natural disasters, and unplanned health issues all require serious financial discussions as well as possible changes to your current plan. A financial advisor considers the unexpected when creating a plan, allowing clients to easily roll with the punches. Will you ensure that your financial plan is flexible enough to suddenly fund the cost of an expanded family or a flooded basement?
  4. CAN YOU VISUALIZE AND VERBALIZE? Not everyone has a plan for the future. Some people simply don’t know what retirement looks like for them, and that’s OK! But as the saying goes, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” and eventually a plan for the future will need to be created. Advisors have the resources to help you visualize the future and come up with concrete and attainable goals. Once the vision is there, you need to write it down and set up a plan of action. Can you put your vision for the future into words? After that, can you take your vision and create a financial plan to help make it a reality?
  5. ARE YOU COMFORTBALE WITH TECHNOLOGY? Going it on your own means utilizing software like online banking, trading and budgeting tools. Technology can be a wonderful resource if you’re attempting to understand the world of finance on your own. Just make sure you’re comfortable and willing to use online systems to research and to help your accounts run smoothly.

It’s important to consider the pros and cons of doing it yourself and hiring a professional. Just like with other DIY projects, if you’re uncomfortable in your ability or do not have the time and resources, it might be best to hire an expert to ensure that the plan is completed correctly.

If you should have any questions regarding your financial future, please contact us at 631.218.0077 or at for a complimentary consultation.

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