I liked the recent quote by Jim Weddle, chief managing partner at Edward Jones. “I can look up a lot of information on health online,” he said. “But I still go to a doctor.”
Do-it-yourself investors think they know a lot about managing their own money because, well, everything you need to know about anything, including investing, is on the Internet. For free! The trouble is, just as is the case with health care googling, where a search of something can be symptomatic of countless conditions, a lot of what online investors consider “research” is in fact noise, the product of trending algorithms, chat room bulletin boards, self-appointed ‘expert’ bloggers or some other rush to judgment. And the noise of the herd is reactionary in nature, and therefore largely useless. It might sound informed, but that’s what information sounds like. It’s not tailored advice. It’s not sound practice. It’s not really wise at all, in fact. But hey, it was on Reddit! And hey, I’m in control!
And right there might be the lesson for advisors – providing clients with the means and conversations that allow them to feel that they are in control, especially when the market environment seems uncontrollable. Just as a person has degrees of control in managing their blood pressure or blood sugar levels by lifestyle choices made under a doctor’s care, investors need to feel that their investment choices lead to good financial health, one that their advisor shapes, measures, corrects and reinforces with them on a regular basis.