The #1 mistake DIY investors make

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When I started Brooklyn Plans, I wanted to offer a financial planning service to empower women and allies to manage their own finances and build wealth. Investment management was not part of the plan. But then I saw clients make a lot of mistakes managing their own investments and I realized that it was more complicated than I or they wanted it to be. A lot of advice on investing goes something like this “X is best unless Y in which case Z except if…” There’s often not a straightforward answer that’s easily distilled into an actionable next step, making it tricky to DIY. So, one year after I started Brooklyn Plans, I began offering investment management to safeguard the nest egg I was working so hard with clients to build.

At Brooklyn Plans, we start all of our clients off with financial planning first, because you need a plan before you start investing. The number one mistake I see with DIY investing is that people start investing without a strategy. They don’t ask themselves the most important question – what is the money for? The answer to that changes everything. Is it for long-term growth or a home purchase? If it’s for long-term growth, have you taken advantage of all other tax shelters through 401(k)s and IRAs first? If it’s for a home purchase, is it for a purchase in 2, 5 or 10 years? The answers to these questions fundamentally change the investment approach from the type of account that makes the most sense to invest in to what underlying investments make up the account.

I wish investing were more straightforward and user-friendly. I wish our financial system wasn’t so complex so that everyday investors could grow their savings in a more transparent way, but that’s just not the reality of the U.S. investing landscape. So the next best thing IMO is to work with a trusted investment partner. Don’t go it alone.

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