My wife and I manage our own investments. As mentioned previously, It's Easier Than You May Think. There is a wealth of information online, and while we don't think it's worth it to pay someone else to manage our money, that doesn't mean we never ask for advice.
Finding valuable financial advice isn't hard. Big investment houses (like Fidelity and Vanguard) have knoweldgeable employees who are willing to talk with you and provide advice that aligns with your goals. In fact, this can be a key benefit of consolidating your investments in one place: The larger the value of your assets with them, the more services they provide (and usually at no additional charge). You can also hire fee-only investment advisors; people you pay for their time and expertise, just like you'd pay any other professional such as an attorney or doctor. Fee-only advisors provide guidance based on your age, goals, assets, risk tolerance, and other factors. Online resources, books, podcasts, and friends can also provide useful advice, or at the very least, ideas.
It's critical that you take all the information you gather and then decide if it's right for you. Just because a professional suggests a plan, it doesn't necessarily mean it will help you accomplish your goals. Over the years, my wife and I have received some great advice, and we've also received advice that left us wondering if the advisor had heard anything we'd said or maybe our communication skills were lacking. For example ...
When our kids were very young (and before we'd decided to manage our own investments) we visited a traditional investment advisor who was highly recommended by a friend. We had some savings and we were participating in our employer's retirement plans. The advisor asked us about our current financial situation and then said, "You're saving too much. Lighten up. Find some ways to spend more money." As we were driving home, my wife reflected, "He gave us that advice without asking about our goals and concerns. He didn't even ask if we were satisfied with our lives right now." Our first meeting with this advisor was also our last.
On the other side of the coin, a Fidelity advisor was looking over our portfolio and said, "You've chosen some bond funds that aren't going to behave very well if interest rates change." He walked me through the steps to find an important piece of information about each fund. Then he described what this information meant and why it was important. I ended up making a number of changes to our portfolio based on that input. He helped us eliminate thousands of dollars of risk I'd unwittingly baked into our portfolio. It was very valuable input!
This past summer, with COVID-19 in full swing and a Presidential election on the horizon, my wife and I had been discussing the state of the economy and how much money we wanted to have in cash in case the market took a big dive. Although we both had concerns about the market, my wife was advocating for a larger cash position than I was and larger than what was recommended in most scenario recommendations. After speaking with an advisor at a major investment firm, I confidently announced, "We have nothing to worry about. We have a bit more cash than the advisor recommends. We don't need to change anything." As I finished the thought, she was already saying "Whoa whoa, whoa! We need to talk about this." And talk we did. For hours and hours; about six as I recall.
We discussed goals, a recognition that we both place a high priority on being able to sleep at night, and that our first objective was security, not maximizing returns. This led to a bit more online research and a conversation with respected neighbors (who stood > 6 feet away). In the end we increased our cash position ... by quite a bit. From the investment advisor's perspective, this was the wrong thing to do. But there was no question in our minds It absolutely was the right thing to do ... for us.
If you're managing your own investments, seek input from others, but don't necessarily follow it until you're sure it's right for you. When you combine what you know, what you learn, and what makes sense for you, it's an unbeatable combination, and you're most likely to achieve your goals.