Many dentists like the idea of managing their own money. It's certainly do-able. Here are some tips if you decide to go it alone.
We have often covered the pros and cons of working with an advisor. But just because you’re a dentist and most likely a higher earner (comparatively speaking) doesn’t mean you have to or necessarily want to work with a broker, analyst, or advisor. If you’d rather go it alone than work with someone on financial matters, there are a few things you can do to get and stay on track.
Simplify What You Can
There are undoubtedly dentists who love to get into the nitty gritty of certain stocks and bonds, investment vehicles and strategies, growth funds and options, even hedge funds and corporate bonds. And that’s perfectly fine. For most, though, your busy career, running a practice, family obligations, and pursuing other interests may mean less time to focus on the specific investment strategies that might benefit your portfolio the most.
The deeper you dive into the details of your investments, the more tinkering you may do, and you may ultimately find complexity creeping into your portfolio. If this is the case, think about simplifying. Three quick and easy ways to do this:
Look into investment vehicles that are themselves somewhat diversified, such as index funds or lifecycle funds.
Diversify yourself. I know it sounds odd to decrease complexity by diversifying, but by owning a variety of asset classes, you remove the need to constantly tinker with your investment mix and buy and sell along with the markets.
Use the tools at your disposal to monitor your portfolio. Today’s retirement providers have management tools that are easy to use and understand. And there are software programs, such as FutureAdvisor and many others, that help you make sure your current investment portfolio avoids duplication, is tax efficient, and is in line with your investment objectives.
Read, and Then Read Some More
Having a basic understanding of different investment vehicles is a crucial part of establishing and pursuing your financial goals. Keep up-to-date information about what is going on in the world of finance with reputable sources, including
The Wall Street Journal
(which has a strong focus on international news),
, and the resource I recommend most highly:
Oh, and keep reading
Dentist’s Money Digest
Not everything you read will be of immediate use in managing your portfolio, but the better you understand the economic climate around you, the better positioned you’ll be to make adjustments as needed.
Pay Close Attention to Fees, and Don’t Forget to Rebalance
Working without an advisor will save you some money for sure, but look closely at the transaction fees and any other fees charged by the brokerage service you select. And remember that few investments are truly “set and forget.” At least annually, you will want to review your portfolio and make any needed adjustments to make sure your portfolio is aligned with your investment goals.