In today’s world, investing through virtual platforms is becoming more common. But how do you know if it’s right for you?
“You really need to understand what you’re looking to achieve,” says Manish Kaushal, Associate Vice President of Wealth and Business Solutions at SCU. “There are some things that an in-person advisor will do better than a robo-type advisor. But there are advantages to both.”
The simplest way to differentiate virtual platforms and advisors from in-person financial advisors is to think of the virtual platform as more of a DIY approach. While these platforms grow more user-friendly by the day, they still, by nature, put the control in your hands — and that can be good or bad, depending on your knowledge and confidence. “If you’re ready to take it on and have the time to do it, it can be very cost-effective,” says Kaushal.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the knowledge, the time, or the desire to steer the ship on your own, an in-person advisor makes more sense. Consider it this way. If you were going to renovate your basement, and had the knowledge and tools to get it done yourself, it’s still a major long-term project that you’re committing to. Hiring a professional may not seem as cost-effective at first, but in fact can save you substantial time and effort while adding the value of a professional touch. DIY investing is exactly the same. Working with a professional instead of doing it yourself can free up your time and energy for other projects, and working with an advisor means you have an expert in your corner.
That said, there’s no reason you have to choose just one option at a time. It’s perfectly reasonable to use a combination of virtual investing, in-person investing, and direct investing. “We see investors who’ve been doing it on their own and then decide they want some help from an in-person advisor,” Kaushal explains. “Maybe they’re moving into retirement, uncomfortable with the market shifts, or they simply just need someone to build a plan and manage it with them. Some investors choose to keep some money on the side to invest in the market themselves because they enjoy it.”
It’s hard to go wrong with a combo approach — especially because there’s almost always something to be gained from sitting down with an in-person advisor. Whether you’re just starting out with investing or thinking about making some changes in the way you manage your investments, talking to an advisor can raise valuable questions for you to consider as you continue on your wealth journey.