Technology has revolutionized every aspect of our lives, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that tech-based investment platforms, known as robo-advisors, are becoming more popular. Robo-advisors were created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, as an alternative to traditional financial advisors and investment managers. This year, robo-advisor platforms crossed the $1 trillion threshold in assets under management.1
These web- or app-based platforms usually use a survey to gather information about your goals, assets, and risk tolerance. Then, based on that information, the program automatically develops and implements an investment strategy. There is usually little or no interaction with an advisor, so everything is based on your answers to the survey questions.
Because there is no human interaction, the fees with robo-advisors are often lower than you might find with a traditional advisor or investment manager. However, cheaper isn’t necessarily better. There are many important functions that a robo-advisor can’t perform. Below are a few services you can’t get with a robo-advisor:
Financial Life Decisions
Your investment strategy is an important part of your financial life, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Many financial outcomes aren’t driven by your investment strategy, but rather the choices you make with your investments in life.
For example, how much should you contribute to your 401(k) each year? Is a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA right for you? What can you do to minimize your taxes each year? When’s the right time to file for Social Security?
A computer can’t answer these questions because it doesn’t understand your full financial picture. These questions and more are often very complex and require nuanced answers based on your unique needs and goals. Real human consultation with an experienced professional is often an effective way to find answers and develop a strategy.
Accurate Answers and Input
Like most technological strategies, a robo-advisor’s output is only as good as the input. These platforms rely on your initial answers to develop your strategy.
But what if your answers to the initial survey aren’t correct? While you may be asked about your goals or risk tolerance, it’s possible that you may not truly know the answers. Do you really know if you will retire at age 65? Do you know how you would react if the market declined by a certain percentage?
Again, a conversation with a professional can help you fully understand your goals and your feelings about risk. That way, your strategy can be based on what you truly need and desire rather than based on a quiz that took a few minutes to complete.
Protecting You from Yourself
When the COVID pandemic began in late February, the S&P 500 declined by 33.93% in a month. Did you feel tempted to sell your investments and move into cash or other less volatile assets? If so, you’re not alone. However, had you done so, you may have missed out on the market’s bounce back. Since March 23, the S&P 500 has climbed 49.35%.2
It’s natural to feel anxious or unnerved by market declines, especially when it falls as rapidly as it did earlier this year. However, an advisor can help you look at the long-term strategy and help you determine if a change in allocation is actually warranted. A robo-advisor simply executes your order to sell without any consultation or advice. While that may be convenient, it may not be the best decision for your long-term goals.
Looking for custom advice and strategy to help you reach your biggest financial goals? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at MasterPlan Retirement Consultants. We can help you analyze your needs and implement a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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Advisory services offered through MasterPlan Retirement Consultants, Inc. Insurance services offered through Fricks and Associates, Inc. Tax services offered through MasterPlan Tax Services, Inc. The aforementioned are affiliated companies.