I just broke up with my financial advisor. Or to put it better – I tried to break up with my financial advisor. There’s something about the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ sequence that is just so lacking, but in reality there are no better words for it. Many people think that the very role of a financial advisor provides a conflict of interest with that of the client, but I think it really comes down to what you want to get out of the ‘relationship.’
For me, this desire to ‘break’ represented my venture into adulthood – my desire to take control of my life finally. You can only read so many books on finance before you go stir-crazy. I don’t consider myself a controlling person (as far as other people) but when it comes to my own life, heck yes I am!
This has been a pretty recent development, but I think one that is right on time given that I’m still fairly young. When you think about it, baby birds don’t learn how to fly by reading or listening to other people (ahem, birds) – they get either get pushed or coaxed out of the nest and learn to fly PRETTY DARN QUICK or fall into the depths. Gruesome image, I know , but it’s one that illustrates exactly how some kind of learning has to progress. At least this has been my learning style.
You may remember J. Money posting about whether I truly knew enough to be managing my investments or not. I’m that “I”. And this is kind of the result of that period of reflection. It is definitely less stressful to have someone else manage your money for you, but I decided to change my strategy (less active trading, more buy and hold/rebalance when necessary). I still don’t maintain to know anything about investing beyond the basics (and even then I get tripped up), but my long-term goals were to eventually manage the account myself. And letting more time pass where I wasn’t actively involved was just kind of putting off the inevitable for me.
It’s now or never, baby!
So this wasn’t so much the decision I knew I had to make – but more the look of shock on my advisor’s face and her immediate exclamation of “What?!” that made me walk out those doors and mope the rest of the day. Despite the fact that everything was civil and professional, I still felt horrible as if I was letting her down or not trusting her judgment.
I’ve learned though that it is through tough and challenging situations that demonstrates a person’s true colors. I’m still working with my advisor, and will most likely continue to do so as she has proved her mettle and counseled me as she would her own daughter (her and my mom are friends, so it’s really not so farfetched), but from now on I’ll be the only one making the final decisions in my portfolio. It will no longer be actively managed. We’re still smack dab in the middle of decisions, but I’m hopeful as well as glad that this relationship has remained intact – and perhaps it will even strengthen.
Any of you manage your own accounts too? Or do you rely upon a manager?
Tiffany, the author of personal finance/lifestyle blog Extraordinary Reasons, was inspired to start writing upon the realization that many of her peers were going through similar situations regarding money, budgeting, and life decisions. She feels compelled to share what she has learned, both from her personal experiences and under the wonderful tutelage of her super frugal mother. Her other passions include real estate and social entrepreneurship, and she maintains that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the amazing support of her loving friends.
[Photo by miguelpdl, tweaked by J$]