With the current popularity of robo-advisors, some wonder what the difference is between an algorithm and a ﬁnancial professional.
Robo-advisors have been able to offer an alternative to traditional ﬁnancial professionals to those with limited resources. They can provide automated advice and portfolio management based on your criteria with low costs and low account minimums.
A traditional ﬁnancial professional may have higher fees and higher account minimums, but they have the ability to offer a comprehensive package of services. They also offer personalized guidance and strategies that consider all facets of your life.
With a robo-advisor, investors can get started by simply ﬁlling out a detailed questionnaire indicating their investment goals and objectives. The entire process is automated, with the robo-advisor using a sophisticated algorithm to determine the best investments for your situation based on your preferences indicated on the questionnaire. No face-to-face meetings or appointments are required.
But this is why many investors choose to work with ﬁnancial professionals. They want the personal touch a ﬁnancial professional can provide. Working with someone can be especially helpful if you aren’t sure what your preferences or goals are yet. Many ﬁnancial professionals offer virtual meetings as well as in-person ones, so you don’t need to travel for ﬁnancial guidance.
A Personal Relationship
While some people prefer to do business online without human interaction, there is no way to adequately replace a person with a computer. And while it may seem easy to have a computer choose investments based on a short questionnaire, the computer knows nothing about you. Not your likes, dislikes, career path, relationship, family, or your short and long-term goals. Your ﬁnancial professional knows all of those things and can make personalized recommendations based on your current life stage and plans for the future. Plus it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone or send an email to someone who can explain market ﬂuctuations, guide you through major ﬁnancial choices, or just offer some reassurance after a particularly volatile trading day.
If you like to keep your personal information private, you may have some hesitations about sharing your personal and ﬁnancial data online. If you do prefer to do everything online, research how your data is being stored, protected, and used before using any provider.
A Hands-On Approach
Because robo-advisors tend to be one-size-ﬁts-all, it can be simpler for investors that want to “set and forget”. However, if you have some very deﬁnite ideas on where you want your money to go, you may want to consider using a ﬁnancial professional, since they can help design a strategy to help you pursue your speciﬁc goals.
While it can be a helpful resource for those entering the market for the ﬁrst time, robo-advisors cannot provide the personalized guidance or years of experience that a ﬁnancial professional may have.
Robo-advisors are not going away, but neither are ﬁnancial professionals. Both will continue to provide services to two very different groups of people, leaving it up to you to decide which option you’re more comfortable using.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how a ﬁnancial professional can help you pursue your ﬁnancial goals.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
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