Working with an investment advisor can help you pad your nest egg with a little profit. But do you really need one?

If you have money saved for retirement or have received inheritance money, you may be unsure of how to invest it on your own. This is where a investment advisor can come in handy. It’s his role to help you invest your money wisely based on the type of investments you want (high risk or slow growth). But there are pros and cons to working with an investor.

How an Investment Advisor Can Help

If you know nothing about investing, an advisor is the best one to help you get the most growth from your money. You can speak to him about your life goals:

  • When you want to retire
  • Any large purchases you’d like to make, and when (like a boat)
  • If you’d like to pay for your children’s education
  • What you want to do with your money when you’re gone

He can help devise the best financial plan for your goals.

Because an investment advisor stays on top of the latest news and trends in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, he can best advise you what to put your money into. He can also suggest when you should sell some of your investments, such as when the economy is in turmoil.

But Do You Need an Investment Advisor?

Some people are more financially savvy than others, so they might not need external help in managing their funds. In this case, an investment advisor might not tell them anything they didn’t already know.

Advisors usually receive some kind of compensation based on how well your investments do. So as your investments go up, they earn commission. While they are supposed to act in your best interest, you may feel like they’re pushing you to invest too aggressively to increase their own gains. If you feel like your needs aren’t being heard, change advisors or fire yours altogether.

Also, if you don’t have a large amount of savings to manage, you probably don’t need an advisor. Likewise, if you’re approaching retirement, it may be unnecessary as well.

Finding an Advisor

The best way to find a reliable investment advisor is to ask around. You may have friends who can make a recommendation based on their experience in working with one. If not, go online and look for reviews of local investment firms. Set up interviews with several so you have a selection to choose from.

It’s important that you click with your advisor. Personality can say a lot about who will be managing your money. Look for someone who’s patient in explaining everything to you, and who genuinely seems to have your best interests at heart. And ask many questions:

  • How long have you worked as an investment advisor?
  • What kinds of investments do you usually suggest to someone like me?
  • How many clients do you manage?
  • What certifications do you hold?
  • What’s your financial philosophy?
  • How do you get paid?
  • How will you monitor my account?
  • How often will we meet?

After a few interviews, you’ll get a sense for the answers you want to hear. Make your choice based on who you trusted the most. Remember that you can always change to another advisor within the same firm, or switch to another firm completely if you’re dissatisfied with your service.

Always get a signed agreement in place that outlines the services your investment advisor will provide to you and the fees he will charge. Keep this in a safe place.