It's the question constantly circulating the minds of investors: Can I be doing better? Is there a lucrative market trend I'm overlooking? Is my portfolio diversified enough to compete with the current market conditions? These are all legitimate concerns of investors at all levels. For starters, here are a few pointers to recognize if you can do better on your investments.
Am I happy with my returns at the moment?
Chasing returns and sacrificing the relationship you have with your investment advisor may not be in your best interest. At all times you should feel confident in the relationship and the trust you have placed in your financial advisor. A qualified and experienced professional should, at all times, handle your investments ethically and morally in your best financial interest. This should always include placing the overall goals of your investments at the Helm of your decision-making process.
Are you on the same page?
These goals are achieved easier when the advisor coherently listens and anticipates your concerns and allows the investor to discuss any and all options prior to investing. A professional should be willing to take the time to make you feel confident in knowing they have your best financial goals in mind for you and your family's future. Sometimes the services of an independent advisor is better for certain individuals who crave or need personalized attention catered to their specific financial outlook. Often times an advisor employed by a large firm is limited in the advice and investment options they can provide.
Are fees eating away at your returns?
Investment fees can easily eat away at any gains you receive during the calendar year. Sit with your advisor and get a breakdown of when and where fees were charged to your account. Determine if moving your money into another fund, stock or bond can yield a greater overall return, taking fee assessments into account. Advisors and firms make their money on fees, never forget this. Fees are generally based on services required for your portfolio and the types of assets under management. However, not every firm is created equal. Prices fluctuate and you pay for what you get in most cases. This is why you must determine if the investments your advisor has placed on your behalf are yielding well enough returns to warrant their fee structure.
It's Never too Late to Switch
Fees should be negotiable and are a good barometer of how much a firm is willing to work in your best interests. A firm that is not willing to negotiate fees can be considered riskier for investors than those who choose to negotiate. Retail advisors working for large firms do not always negotiate, nor are they allowed to do so. This could be another reason making the switch to an independent firm or advisor who might make more sense for your portfolio's long-term goals. You will have more flexibility with greater options that focus on yielding better returns for clients. If you find you're limited in your investment options and feel your portfolio is missing the boat, an independent firm can open many doors and provide you with more direct investment alternatives.