You can do a lot of things online in this digital age that you probably would have hired a professional to handle 10-15 years ago. For example, you can make all of your own travel arrangements, learn how to play an instrument and find online tutorials for any kind of home improvement project. You can also research investments, do your own financial and tax planning, and even set up business retirement plans and accounts, all with a few clicks of your mouse.
However, just because you can do these things, doesn’t mean you should do them. When it comes to dental accounting, dental financial planning, retirement planning and dental tax planning, trying to go it alone can lead to costly errors. Those errors can compound over time and make it harder to reach your goals.
The Risks of Taking a “Do-It-Yourself” Approach
There’s a lot at stake when you’re making financial decisions. It may seem simple enough to complete an online questionnaire and select your own investments. However, what you don’t know can hurt you.
Here are just a few of the potential pitfalls that can trip up the unwary:
- An investment portfolio that may have been balanced initially can become unbalanced over time. For example, a portfolio made up of 60 percent equities and 40 percent bonds may have been perfect for you initially. However, over time, if there isn’t a professional watching and re-balancing for you, normal market movements can skew those percentages. The end result is that you may find yourself invested either too aggressively or too conservatively, either of which could be detrimental in the long run.
- While you may be drawn in by a particular company’s or investment’s flashy marketing, it may not be a good choice for you for any number of reasons. An investment professional can help you make decisions based on your time horizon, goals, experience level and appetite for risk, and can educate you on potential tax implications of your decisions.
- There are a lot of investments with similar-sounding names that have widely different investment strategies and goals.
Finding and Selecting Professionals
When evaluating financial professionals, it’s important to look beyond flashy marketing tactics. There are different types of professionals with different credentials and licensing requirements. It’s also important to understand that you cannot rely on someone’s title alone to understand what services they provide.
To find someone to help you with your financial planning, retirement planning, investing or tax planning, follow these tips:
Get Recommendations From People You Trust
Ask other dental professionals you work with for referrals to people in their networks. H+P is a full service dental business advisory firm. We have retirement planning and financial advisory services available for dental professionals, just like you.
Do Your Homework
Meet with the financial professional(s) to see if you think you would feel comfortable working with them. You can also do some independent research, as follows:
- FINRA: Anyone licensed to sell investments like stocks, bonds or mutual funds must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Use FINRA’s “BrokerCheck” tool to find out about previous legal or disciplinary disclosures, as well as customer complaints against a broker.
- SEC: The Securities and Exchange Commission registers investment advisory firms and individuals who provide services like financial planning and investment recommendations or advice for a fee. Investors can check out SEC-registered firms and individuals through the IAPD website.
- Check out designations: Financial professionals often have an alphabet soup of letters behind their names. If you don’t know what those letters mean, it can be confusing and intimidating. Fortunately, you can use this handy resource on FINRA’s website to learn what different credentials mean.
Financial professionals have gone through rigorous coursework and examinations designed to help them understand the ins and outs of the investment world, so you don’t have to be an expert.
When you’re looking for a do-it-yourself project, stick to home improvement chores and leave the financial planning and advice up to the professionals. Having a firm in your corner who specializes in dental business advisement only makes your retirement planning more intentional and effective. Chat with us today on our home page if you have more questions or concerns. We’re here to help!