What are the advantages of doing my own research?
- You can do research whenever you have free time. If you have a personal computer, you can do your research any time. Also, you can bookmark the best sources and go back to them any time. You can also print off or copy the information that you find, and read it later.
- You can quickly and easily compare sources: You can access and evaluate information from several online sources.
- You can find many useful calculators and tools: Websites for financial planning offer an array of tools. You can use them to work out the math for questions that would be very hard to answer on your own. For example: How much money will you have saved when you retire? How much will it cost you to invest?
What are the drawbacks to doing my own research?
- You may not always be able to tell if the source is credible. You can’t trust every investment newsletter or website. The last thing you want is to be misled into making choices that aren’t right for you.
- You may only get one point of view: Even if the source appears to be credible, it may not give you a balanced view. How will you know if there is another way to look at the same topic?
- You may get wrong or out-of-date information: If the information is wrong or out of date, you may make mistakes investing. Check the date when material was printed or put online. Tip: For online sources, you can usually find the date either at the bottom of the page. For print resources, check the first few pages of the document.
- You can’t ask questions or have a discussion: Someday you may be able to talk with your computer just as you do with a financial adviser, but that day isn’t here yet. On websites, you will often find an electronic bulletin board or a way to send a question by email. You will still have to wait to get a reply, and in some cases you may not get an answer. Print brochures, of course, won’t ever talk.