Content provided by Sierra Morris-Fuchs, CLS Investment Research Analyst
Figuring out how to spend your money can be difficult. If you are like me, even a decision as simple as where to go for dinner can turn into a lengthy quest of nearby restaurants, researching menus for plates and prices, and making a persuasive argument for the food I’m craving. What about a bigger purchase, say a flat screen TV or a tablet? For me, a purchase like this can take weeks of research before I’m satisfied. My research is extensive – I read up on brands, features, and customer reviews, and I’m willing to bet most people have a similar process.
As it turns out, I’m right. (Full disclosure – I already knew the answer.) In fact, a recent survey done by TIAA-CREF found that most Americans spend a greater amount of time making decisions on what restaurant to eat at, or which TV/tablet to buy than they do deciding how to set up their IRA retirement account.
Does that mean most people don’t care how they are investing a good portion of their life savings? I don’t think so. I believe it’s a reasonable assumption that a lack of understanding of financial accounts and products is at least partially to blame for this shortage of IRA planning. After all, the same study found that more than one-third of their respondents did not know the difference between employee-sponsored plans and IRAs. And who can blame them? The enormous amount of account types and fund choices alone can be overwhelming and on top of that investors need to consider fees, geopolitics, investment structure, risks, and diversification.
This is exactly why it’s so important to have a trusted financial advisor. Not only are Americans spending too little time planning their investments, but when left to our own devices, it’s human nature to make these investment decisions emotionally – buying at highs and selling at lows. A good financial advisor will take goal and fears, constraints and capacity into consideration when spending the time to gather an ideal portfolio for investors – allowing them that extra time to figure out the perfect spot to eat on Friday night.