"I can do it myself!"

Mar 15, 2023

Every parent of toddlers is painfully familiar with the term "I can do it myself!." It's probably every toddler's favorite sentence after "No!."

As a mother, I've learned to give my children the time, space, and experience to "do it themselves."  Sometimes it works marvelously because it teaches them a new skill like tying their shoes. Sometimes it is disastrous because they just don't have the strength or skill to execute what they're attempting. Regardless of the outcome, it is a learning experience every time.

Managing personal finances can be similar. There are certain times when you can do it yourself, and it will be just fine and teach you a new skill. Saving your first emergency fund or creating a budget are both great opportunities to work through steps on your own. However, there are some situations when you may not have the skill, knowledge, or time to adequately execute- and the consequences can be severe. Setting and maintaining asset allocation; leaving your portfolio alone when markets are going sideways; or setting up a multi-year plan to exercise your NSOs or ISOs are all great examples of situations where you might not want to say "I can do it myself!." 

Make no mistake, I don't mean this as a hard sales pitch for financial advisors. I don't think everyone needs an ongoing financial professional relationship. However, I do think if you choose to "DIY" it is valuable to a. make that decision with full awareness of the time it will require you to dedicate to execute your financial plan or b. find a professional you can check in with on a periodic basis to ensure you are still "on the right track."  Learn to differentiate when you might be doing yourself more harm than good in choosing to do it alone.

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