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Should I Work with an Advisor?

By Portage County Business Council

By LouAnn Schulfer,  AWMA®, AIF®
Accredited Wealth Management Advisor®
Accredited Investment Fiduciary

I met with a younger couple recently for an initial consultation.  They reached out to me with questions regarding retirement, which is likely 15 years out for them.  They are successful in their careers, save aggressively and have been doing their own investing into 401(k)s and basic index funds on-line.  The gentleman went on to say that he stays on top of his investments and feels he understands them, but now that their nest egg has grown to several hundred thousand dollars, he is questioning whether he has the level of knowledge for the complexity that comes with decision making for a large portfolio.  Are there rules that he is not aware of?  Could he be missing opportunities or taking on undue risk?  Up until this point, he has not felt the need to work with an advisor, nor has he found an option for a comprehensive relationship to his satisfaction.

We went on to discuss who should work with an advisor, and the varying levels of value different advisors bring.  Similar to any other service, do-it-yourselfers often have the most difficult time hiring someone else.  That can change when they reach a new point in their lives where they no longer have or want to dedicate the time it takes to do the job or when new chapters in life bring higher levels of complexity, such as actively preparing for retirement income distribution, transferring assets or managing larger portfolios.  As an analogy, I may do a small construction project myself but when it comes to building an entire home, it may be time to engage the expertise of someone who builds homes for a living, a professional.  Or, I may not need a doctor to tell me to eat right and exercise, but I may wish to pay for their expertise in managing my thyroid, recognizing that I do not have access to the proper medication without their assistance.  The same is true with investments.  There are options for your money that are only accessible through an advisor.  Additionally, you may receive more than just asset management from some advisors.

Many advisors offer investment management, although the investments they offer can  range greatly.  Certain firms offer planning with varying levels of expertise.  Still others offer advice.  I can speak to a comprehensive relationship best from my own perspective.  In a Wealth Management relationship with our firm, we help our clients with the important decisions they face now and in the future, with planning, keeping plans on-track and making course corrections along the way, and with a sophisticated level of investment management.  If you are like the couple above and are wondering whether you should work with an advisor for the first time, or if you are assessing your options between different advisors, first ponder what you would like help with.  Then organize your list, ranking by priority.  Let that be your guide as to who may be the right fit for you, or to answer the question:  Should I work with an advisor?

LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.