Technology has changed nearly every facet of our lives. Paper maps for road trips are as antiquated as an outhouse, our phones can route us around morning rush-hour traffic, and any imaginable fact or figure we could ever need is only a few keystrokes away. That, of course, isn’t to say that technology is a cure-all for all our woes but, in fact, should always be utilized in ways that improve our lives rather than harm them over the long-term.
Investors should take this notion to heart when choosing whether or not to use one of the many DIY investment and financial planning platforms available to them. If used properly, they can empower an investor to take control over their finances and make choices that are exclusively in their best interest. However, just as a GPS unit can still wreak havoc on a road trip if satellite signals are weak and software malfunctions, the same can be said for a DIY approach to personal finances – it is up to you to decide if you are capable of properly navigating a complex and confusing investment landscape.
Know Your Limitations
Having the best of intentions doesn’t necessarily lend itself to successful conclusions. No matter how diligent you are in your research to find the ideal online broker or financial planning software, future success will still be limited by your own personal knowledge base and skill set. Granted, software has made rapid advancements through the use of machine learning and algorithms to help allocate your portfolio according to your financial goals, time horizons, and personal level of risk tolerance, but such technology is in no way a replacement for a well-seasoned financial professional. In other words, it’s important to know your limitations because heightened cost efficiency and convenience will never be a perfect replacement for proper guidance and peace of mind.
Of course, like most things in life, establishing proper boundaries is a great way to limit the repercussions of bad choices. When it comes to DIY investing solutions like online brokers, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dabbling in a stock or two that you find intriguing. However, particularly for those with novice investment skill sets, preset boundaries can prevent poor investment decisions from negatively impacting your overall financial strategy.
For most average investors, it’s probably a wise decision to look at DIY investing like this: if the money you invest through an online broker suddenly disappears, you might wince a bit but, in the long run, your overall financial health won’t skip a beat.
Jeremy Wallace is founder and chief investment officer at Wallace Hart Capital Management, an independent financial services firm committed to offering comprehensive advice and customized services. Jeremy has 20 years of experience in the financial industry and is passionate about helping clients preserve and enhance their wealth so they can pursue their passions. Jeremy graduated from Emory University with a degree in international economics and a certificate in financial planning. Outside of the office, Jeremy spends most of his free time with his wife, Julie, and their three children, Isabel, Lincoln, and Reid. He is an avid Chicago Cubs baseball fan, and he enjoys golfing with his wife and traveling with his family. Learn more about Jeremy by connecting with him on LinkedIn.