Thanks to the Internet and other emerging technologies there are four ways you can invest your assets. You have easy, online access to the data you need to research investments, allocate assets, monitor performance, and change investments based on constantly changing market conditions.
The type of service you select is based on your personal investment knowledge, your available time, the services you are seeking, your willingness to pay fees to third parties, and your need to meet with a personal financial advisor.
If you have the time, interest, and qualifications, your first alternative is investing your own assets. You conduct your own research and you make the portfolio buy/sell decisions. You open an account at a Charles Schwab or another third party and you invest in securities, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, hedge funds, or other types of investments.
Mutual Fund Management
You can also invest your assets with a mutual fund family such as Vanguard or Fidelity. You can select your own funds or delegate that decision when you use one of their lifestyle options that invests in a pre-determined mix of mutual funds for you.
Online Investment Management
A more recent option is online investment management. That is, you select an online service (Wealthfront, Betterment) that will invest your assets for you. You have two options:
- The relationship is 100% online and you do not have access to an advisor
- You have limited Internet or telephone access to an advisor
The most frequently used form of investment management is the face-to-face advisor. You meet with the advisor as part of your selection process. You meet with the advisor on a regularly scheduled basis to review your investment results. You develop a personal relationship with the advisor based on your financial situation, needs, concerns, and goals.
Your investment goal should be competitive performance for reasonable risk and expense. It does not matter which method you use as long as you achieve this goal. Excessive risk and expense undermine the achievement of the goal.