Emotion. Personality. Knowledge. Time. Each is one of many factors that determine what kind of investor you are.
When mapping your financial future, the path you choose depends on where you are, where you’re going and your overall personality. Investing is a journey each of us approaches differently, with investors often falling into one of four categories – Laid-Back, Collaborative, Busy and Event-Driven.
So why is it important to know which type of investor you are? First, you can learn to identify the challenges of your investment style, as well as its advantages. And you can also discover other investment behaviors to determine if you can enhance your own style.
The Laid-Back Investor
Most people’s lives are hectic enough without prioritizing time to develop investment skills. The laid-back investor discusses their ideas and goals with and completely delegates decision-making to their advisor. If you fall into this category, you prefer to rely on a professional to help develop and execute your financial plan and are more likely to rely on fundamental investment strategies, such as owning your own home, funding tax-deferred retirement plans, focusing on asset allocation and saving at least 10% of earnings.
The potential downside of being more detached is that it may take a lot of discipline to achieve financial independence. You may need to make trade-offs along the way, prioritizing different goals at different stages of life.
A bonus to being more removed is that the laid-back investor typically rides the market wave and takes a long-term approach. Plus, being able to trust your financial planner is key to building a strong and long-lasting relationship as you work toward achieving your goals. As you gain more knowledge and comfort with investing, you may move on to a more collaborative style.
The Collaborative Investor
Generally more experienced than laid-back investors, collaborative investors discuss ideas and goals with their advisors but act on decisions independently or in conjunction with their financial planner. The collaborative investor relies on objective advice and guidance based on their needs, goals and today’s investing environment. Relying on a professional’s knowledge can help collaborators steer clear of major missteps while maintaining discipline with their investments.
A collaborative investor should be careful, though, not to fall into certain decision traps that can affect perception or cloud judgment. A tendency to interpret information that confirms your preconceptions can sneak in before you even realize it. Shrugging off negative news or data about a beloved company is a red flag, a signal reminding the collaborative investor that it’s time to seek out their expert voice of reason.
The Busy Investor
Busy investors think just as much about making their money work for them as they did earning it in the first place. They discuss ideas and goals with their advisors but act on decisions independently. They’re interested in investing, but trust their advisor to do the heavy lifting, such as putting selected strategies in place or carrying out independently decided transactions. It’s a close relationship built on trust and knowing that your advisor is in your corner. While busy investors prefer to keep an eye on market returns, they also understand that investing is a long game.
Busy investors trust themselves, and for good reason. But in the investing world, that can result in overconfidence, which can lead to misjudging the likelihood of good and bad outcomes. The price this type of investor pays is the time and energy required to treat their wealth as a business. Working with a financial advisor provides a trusted alternative to being so hands-on and offers an objective sounding board who can validate their ideas.
The Event-Driven Investor
An event-driven investor makes the most of their own decisions, but uses their financial advisor when it comes to specialized needs or specific life changes. They know their portfolio balance and have a solid grasp on the financial plan that’s been set based on conversations with their advisor. But when the unexpected arises – a wedding, birth, divorce, inheritance, health event – they turn to their advisors for custom solutions designed to help them address their immediate needs.
However, for many event-driven investors, this can mean that long-term planning is more cumbersome or less of a focus until a major life event happens. Working with a financial planner along the way opens the door to objective feedback and can lighten the event-driven investor’s financial workload.
Finding the Right Strategy for You
Each type of investing has trade-offs. No single method will be right for everyone, and each represents a different level of immersion in your financial plan – and a different level of commitment and effort. But all four types have at least one thing in common: they can benefit from a guide as they forge their path to financial independence. Working with your financial advisor to develop a clearly defined plan for your journey can lessen the weight on any investor’s shoulders.
Investing involves risk including the possible loss of capital. Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit nor protect against loss.