With new technologies come new challenges. In the financial realm, one of those challenges— for investors, at least— is whether or not to consult a financial adviser when there are so many do-it-yourself tools available. Robo-advisers allow investors to monitor their own investments through algorithmic planners based on pre-selected criteria. If an investor can tell the robot to adjust his portfolio based on certain conditions, then why have a human adviser at all?
In marketplace lending, borrowers and sponsors alike can set their own criteria and find a match much like those that dating sites have been making for two decades now. These platforms are cutting out the mediator and allowing borrowers and creditors to connect to each other directly. Again, why bother with financial advisers?
Despite these realities, there still may be times when you’d want to consult a financial adviser. Let’s look at some of them.
When You Should Consult A Human Financial Adviser
A few times when you might consider a financial adviser include:
- You have received a large sum of money and want to investigate the best way to preserve and protect it. Maybe you have a rich uncle who left you a lot of money, or you won a sweepstakes, a lottery, or a casino prize. In these cases, a financial adviser can help you understand your tax obligations and look for investment vehicles that might reduce your tax burden while protecting your newfound wealth in the long-term.
- Your portfolio is struggling. Robo-advisers can be great. You might have the best marketplace lending strategy ever, but if your portfolio is struggling, a financial adviser can help you figure out why. He may be able to point out some things you don’t see and help you adjust your criteria for the algorithmic investment strategies you have chosen to work with.
- You want to pursue investment strategies you are not familiar with. Perhaps you are new to marketplace lending, or you have never invested in real estate before but see the potential in returns, a human financial adviser can get you up to speed faster on successful investment strategies and identify opportunities based on her experience and knowledge of the market.
- Your retirement plan is employer-sponsored. Employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)S, 457 plans, and 403(b)S are by definition managed by human financial advisers. If you want to contribute to these, you must use a traditional investment manager.
- You want more control. Robo-advisers are limited in their ability to customize an investment strategy. Their algorithms are based on generally popular investment criteria and you must answer a questionnaire that manages your portfolio based on the answers you give. If you wish to deviate from the algorithm in any way, you’ll have to do it through a financial adviser or traditional investment manager.
- It’s important to interact with humans. If you prefer human interaction, then go with your gut.
- You are not comfortable investing online. Younger investors typically do not have a problem with technology, whereas some older investors are “stuck in their ways.” There’s nothing wrong with investing in the way that is most comfortable you know. In this case, you’ll want to stick with your human financial adviser.
When to Ditch Your Human Financial Adviser
Not everyone has the same risk sensibilities. Some reasons you may prefer robots to humans include:
- Your portfolio isn’t large enough. Many financial management firms require minimums, and they can be hefty. Most robo-advisers have small minimums, making them ideal for most investors and for people who have traditionally been shut out of investments.
- You want to avoid exorbitant fees. Traditional investment advisers charge from 1% to 3% for every transaction. Robo-advisers and marketplace lending platforms usually charge less than 1%. You can save a bundle on fees and other charges.
- You’re okay with the robot handling your money. If you don’t need human contact and are willing to let the algorithm, dictate your long-term strategy, web-based investing is for you.
Marketplace lending, even real estate marketplace lending, and robo-advisers are not replacing traditional investment managers entirely. They’re simply opening up new doors of opportunities for investors in all walks of life.