Do You Need a Robo-Advisor or a Human Financial Advisor?

Society moves at a breakneck pace these days. Smartphones have given people access to virtually any information they want regardless of their location or time of day. With financial planning needs changing in seconds and people wanting information instantly, robo-advisors are being implemented more and more.

Which type of advisor is right for you?

A financial advisor’s role is to help you live the life you choose, whether that involves a big family with lots of college tuition down the line, early retirement, property investment, world travel, or more. Robo-advisors put your portfolio at your fingertips, giving you a snapshot of your investments in an instant.

A robo-advisor puts control of your future in your hands more than ever before. With the ability to make changes to your plan, you can make your money work for you using a robo-advisor. However, just because you can make swift changes to your strategy doesn’t mean you should, and which is where a human advisor comes in.

It Depends On Your Stage in Life

Much of the human advisor versus robo-advisor decision depends on your stage in life. If you’re just starting out as an earner and have only a small amount of investment capital, a robo-advisor, with its lower fees and more hands-on approach, could very well be the best option for you.

Young or first time investors are typically used to the technological savvy required to manage their own investment strategy, so a robo-advisor may feel more comfortable. Using a robo-advisor provided by an investment firm allows for a DIY approach with the safety net of a human advisor should questions arise. An initial meeting with a human advisor can help them understand the full impact of their investments through both the immediate and long-term future. The lower fees and transparent pricing of a robo-advisor may also be attractive for a group without a lot of assets (or rapidly building assets). As time goes on, the robo-advisor becomes an essential tool, giving them more flexibility to drive their portfolio themselves and make adjustments on the spot.

Another group to benefit from a robo-advisor are the savers, looking to build their portfolio for the golden years. This group is generally climbing the corporate ladder and balancing college tuition for their children. Because needs can rapidly change at this level of investment, there are sometimes questions better answered by a human advisor. A robo-advisor may give more control over the investment options, but a human advisor can answer questions pertaining to more dynamic investment considerations. Talking about money isn’t just about money, and a human advisor can tailor a plan that answers unquantifiable questions like how do I plan for an adventure trip of a lifetime or purchase the mountain cabin where I want to live out my retirement years?

“While a robo-advisor alone puts more control in the clients’ hands, there are still situations where a human advisor is a better voice in your corner, with their expertise and ability to think dynamically to plan your strategy. ”

While a robo-advisor can give easy access to the state of their investments, those who are high earners but not rich yet should have a human advisor who can answer questions revolving around taxes and alternate income streams. A robo-advisor is helpful for quick changes and immediate control over the portfolio, but for someone with quite a lot of investment capital, a strategic plan with a human advisor’s expertise can be more beneficial, keeping the robo-advisor as a single tool in an arsenal of tools to best manage the portfolio.

Those at the pre-retiree/post-retiree point in life are less likely to benefit from a robo-advisor over a human one. Plans that have been years (or even decades) in the making benefit from the human touch to ensure everything’s on track. Life can surprise us, and if that happens after retirement, a human expert can produce a creative solution to minimize any setbacks where a robo-advisor can only inform of the setback’s consequences. Keeping the road smooth through retirement years takes investment savvy and creativity that perhaps cannot be duplicated by a computer.

For those who’ve come into an inheritance, are named in a trust, or have gained a windfall through other circumstances will benefit most from a human advisor who is experienced with planning and executing an investment strategy around these specific life events. Such advice can cover questions around taxes, disbursements quantity and frequency, and can mean the savings of thousands of dollars in penalties if not properly handled.

A human advisor can offer advice on this and much more, as well as recommend investments that fit the clients’ social consciousness. While a robo-advisor alone puts more control in the clients’ hands, there are still situations where a human advisor is a better voice in your corner, with their expertise and ability to think dynamically to plan your strategy. A robo-advisor opens many doors to the understanding and control over one’s investments. Be sure to research carefully which option most fits your needs. Perhaps the answer for you lies with a combination of human expertise and the flexibility and control with a robo-advisor that gives the most value and peace of mind for a future lived the way you choose.

Set up a consultation with us to discuss your sustainable investment options.

Three Big Misconceptions About Retirement Plans for your Business

For small business owners, it’s a great feeling when you’ve grown your company to the point of being able to offer comprehensive benefits, especially a quality retirement plan, to your employees. A retirement plan benefit is also a great  way to attract and keep talented team members. However, identifying and setting up a retirement plan can be daunting and often intimidating, and there is a general feeling among small business owners that there may not be a retirement plan that fits their needs.

There are three widespread misconceptions about retirement plans we hear from business owners:

“My options are limited.”  

There is only one option – most people know “401(k)” and that is all they know. In truth, there are many other retirement plan options for small businesses, many of which are simple and inexpensive to maintain. A good financial advisor can also customize your retirement plan for your specific needs, long term growth goals, and employee opportunities.

“This is going to cost me a lot of money.”

Many entrepreneurs are concerned about potential cost of setting up and maintaining a retirement plans.  They are not free (or cheap), but the vast majority of plans are agreed upon because the tax savings outweigh the cost of plan maintenance. It’s an investment in the long term foundation of your company. When you start to look at retirement plan options, make sure you are understanding the benefits, not just the cost.

“Setting up a retirement is too complex and time-consuming.”  

Are retirement plans complex? At first glance, maybe. There are a lot of numbers and factors to consider when shopping around for plans if you choose to take on that task yourself.

However, in most situations, there will be a retirement plan administrator. They exist to translate plan options, talk numbers, and help you get back to what you enjoy doing the most while still keeping you informed about how your retirement plan is working for you and your employees. A great plan administrator will guide you and answer any questions – that is what you are paying them for.

Even after a little demystifying you may be left wondering, “Where do I start?”

That’s where financial advisors come in. A financial advisor should be to offer guidance, but if they are speaking in jargon and acronyms, it could just be more confusing. Make sure the advisor you’re talking to is willing to slow down, express patience in explaining concepts, and can illustrate exactly how each plan option works.

We are excited to announce we are rolling out a new business retirement plan service, Conscious-k, in collaboration with a TPA (third party administrator). This administrator works with us and you to make sure that you have the best options to consider when shopping for a business retirement plan that makes sense for you.

Ready for a business retirement plan that gives back to your employees and aligns with your values? Check out Conscious-k for more information and to schedule an initial consult.