Deciding where and how to invest can be difficult and when it comes to your money, so you don't want to take any chances. The Investing Sentiment Survey (ISS) released recently shows most investors are feeling overwhelmed and confused by the variety and complexity of products, so if you're looking for good financial advisement, don't be afraid to look for help.
Take stock of your cash flow and overall financial picture, pick specific investment goals and be sure you know where you want your money to be in one, five, even 10 years so you can stay on top of your financial wellness. The ISS data showed that 62 percent of investors want to know more about the investment process, and just under half don't think their brokers or investment managers are doing a good job of informing and educating them.
So where can you go if you want help figuring out the who, what, when, where why and how of investing? There are plenty of options available to individuals and businesses alike to help you get a better grasp of where your money is and how to move it.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) offers a wide variety of online tools and tips to get you started in the right direction. The American Library Association also provides an interactive reading room with case studies, downloadable tools and even games that help you understand the investment process. Thirty-five percent of investors think the information they find online is just as good or better than what they get from a broker, according to the ISS.
"Investors have a ton of information at their fingertips, but that is not knowledge of perspective," said the director of global marketing for MFS William Finnegan, the group responsible for the Investing Sentiment Survey. "The need for professional advice is on the rise."
According to the ISS, 25 percent of investors feel that their need for information has increased, with higher percentages responding positively in that vein within younger age groups, and just over 80 percent think this should come from a real person like a financial advisor. Find a broker or similar professional to discuss your goals with, either through email, phone calls, or a walk-in visit. Investment bankers can also give you an idea of when to open an account or offer insight about different investment instruments you might want to consider. Try talking to friends and family to see how their investment strategies are going, and see what's worked for them.