Fees | Avoid Paying on Price | Planning Insights

Anne Hussman |

When it comes to wealth management, you should avoid buying on price. Some investors think even a 1% annual fee is too much to pay, probably because they have been receiving so little in return for it. They decide to manage their wealth themselves, or they opt for a “robo-advisor” (an automated, algorithm-based online wealth management service, with little or no human touch included). Both of these alternatives have drawbacks.

Do-it-yourself wealth management can potentially undermine your wealth-building effort. Think about the responsibility and time and acumen it demands. Do you have the knowledge and education that a CFP® professional does? Do you think you can regularly outperform the benchmarks, or for that matter Wall Street money managers?

Many people think they can, and they may in the short term, but at considerable risk. Do-it-yourself wealth management tends to open the door to a day trading mentality, in which investors chronically buy high and sell low and underperform the markets. The do-it-yourselfers also tend to “chase the return” to their detriment. Tax and risk management may get short shrift. A great return may not look all that great after taxes.

In life, business, and wealth management, there really is no substitute for personal interaction. That lesson is being learned by investors who rely on robo-advisors.

A robo-advisor deploys computer algorithms to make investment and asset allocation decisions for you. It does not know you. It has no understanding of what you and your family want out of life, or what you want from retirement. It will not sit down with you to create a retirement plan or a risk management strategy. It does not have to uphold a fiduciary standard that places your best interest first.

Yes, it may charge you a lower annual fee than a real live wealth manager, but that discount may be offset, because it may direct your assets into investments that come with relatively high management fees and charges of their own. A robo-advisor is ultimately making decisions on behalf of your investor profile, not you; that decision-making comes with a degree of genericism.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

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