A question we’re hearing frequently, now that technology is becoming more robust in the retail financial services industry, is: should you go it alone, or should you hire professional help?

There certainly are ways to be a do-it-yourself investor, and those methods have evolved over the past 20-25 years from discount brokerage firms, into model-sharing and robo-advisors today. The technology is cleaner, simpler, and easier to use than ever before.

The problem is, people haven’t evolved. People are still people.

Now, granted, we’re in the business of serving the financial and investing needs of individual investors and small businesses-  for a fee. So you may be inclined to view our opinion as biased in favor of seeking professional help. And, overall, you’d be right. But our experience has taught us one very important truth about the vast majority of us as individual investors: we’ll get in the way of our own success, time and time again.

Here are just a few statistics and common traits, to show you how human behavior causes very poor money outcomes. And yes, you may not be guilty of all of these, but you are, if you are a totally normal human being, and totally honest with yourself, guilty of at least a few:

  1. You’re broke. 50% of Americans have less than one month’s salary saved for emergencies. A shocking 28% have less than two weeks’ pay saved.
  2. You overspend. We spend 12%-18% more- per transaction – when we swipe a debit or credit card instead of pay with cash.
  3. You live just barely within your means. 61% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. That’s nothing left for long-term or emergency savings at all.
  4. You live for convenience. You can save over $112,000 over your working life by brown-bagging lunches instead of eating out every day.
  5. You don’t have a plan. 57% of households don’t operate on a budget.
  6. You’ll let politics persuade your investing decisions.
  7. You buy things for their perceived impact on your social status, never realizing how seldom someone actually notices the brand of your purse, the size of your gem stones, or the make and model of your car.
  8. You’re a pessimist in a world where the vast majority of your fellow humans are working hard to make things better every day, and only a few are trying to cause harm.
  9. You believe there are secret tricks, special programs, or charts, which can beat the markets over long periods of time (or repeatedly).
  10. You fail to understand the fluid and growing cycle of money, and see a wealthy person as having taken something away from others in order to become wealthy.
  11. You try to time the markets using your gut instinct, which is always wrong and off by at least six months or more.
  12. You play the Lotto and actually think you can win.
  13. You believe $1 million is an impossibly huge sum of money to acquire in your lifetime without realizing that a person who averages just $25,000 a year earns a million dollars in their working lifetime.
  14. Things that just happened feel more painful than things that happened, say 8 years ago. Last quarter’s negative market return feels worse than the 2008-2009 market crash.
  15. Whenever markets do start to correct, deep down, you believe, “This time it’s different.”
  16. You seek out information only from sources with which you agree. If you’re a Fox viewer, for example, you won’t spend an unbiased day watching MSNBC, and vice-versa.
  17. You size up the potential of investments based on past returns, rather than investments that (A) you understand, (B) have a competitive advantage, (C) fit your goals, and (D) sell for an attractive valuation.
  18. You don’t believe that “doing nothing” is actually one of the most potent tools in investing.
  19. You believe somehow, the guy on TV actually has some insight into your situation, your portfolio, or your risk tolerances.
  20. You’ll spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on somebody’s books, DVDs, classes, and seminars, for basic and impersonal advice, but not those kinds of sums on personal, professional advice and follow-through service.

This certainly isn’t a complete list. But it’s representative of how we fool ourselves into thinking we are capable of doing it on our own. The truth is, very likely, you can’t. Not because there is anything wrong with you. Because you’re human.

We created nVest Advisors for the average guy (or gal). Not for the super-wealthy (though we do have many large accounts). After nearly a decade in operation, we have met and served the needs of many, many individual investors . We’ve seen the typical mistakes over and over again. And most importantly, we have the training and experience to help you avoid those mistakes.

If you have mastered your own very human behavioral mistakes regarding money, then you really don’t need a professional advisor. But if you have mastered those behaviors, you are most likely already financially independent.

If you are like most of us, seeking professional help for your finances can make the difference between continuing to do what you’ve always done, and making those important changes toward a better future. Your advisor will help you clearly set goals, establish a workable budget, make sure your investments reflect your values, and help ensure nothing unforeseen is in the way for you. And, perhaps most importantly, your advisor will help you stay on track when your human nature tells you otherwise.

Give us a call today if you’d like to see if nVest Advisors is the right firm for you. We’ll give you an hour with no hassles, no commitments, no obligations.

References: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-dozen-shocking-personal-finance-statistics-2011-5, http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/10/77-reasons-youre-awful-at-managing-money.aspx