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VOO and chill

“Why should I hire an advisor?” is not a question I get a lot, actually. But people as it (like here) and the answer is often “you don’t! Just buy VOO, it will beat any advisor”. What does that mean?

VOO is the ticker symbol for Vanguard’s S&P 500 index ETF. When you buy that, you’re buying the 500 biggest companies in the United States: the ones we all know, like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, proctor and gamble, Home Depot, and Coca Cola. It forms the backbone of any portfolio and has delivered top notch returns for decades. 

The point of the recommendation is that you don’t need an advisor, when an advisor isn’t going to get you a better result than just buying the S&P 500. And if you’re just looking at an advisor as someone who will manage your portfolio (and thinks they can beat the market), then it’s true: you're better off just buying VOO and chilling. Your portfolio should be simple, inexpensive, and something you can stick with over the long-term. There’s no secret sauce and there’s no magic trick beyond that.

But an advisor should be doing so much more for you. 

Here are a list of things I’ve worked on with my clients, just this week: 

  • my parents are getting older and I know they will need help, but what about saving for my own retirement? And my kids' future?

  • I’ve accumulated a lot of stock in my company. How do I deal with that?

  • My job is becoming too stressful. Can I retire early? Or switch to a lower-paying role? What about starting my own business?

  • We think we want to buy a house, but we’re  not sure if it’s the right thing for us. How can we figure that out?

  • How should I prioritize my investing among traditional, Roth, and taxable accounts? Am I even able to make Roth contributions?

You can’t VOO and chill your way out of these questions. These are real life challenges that almost all of us will face at some point, and the idea that you should be able to figure it all out yourself does some real harm. Investing is the component of your financial life that gets the most attention (obvs), but it's also the part that you have some of the lowest control over. An advisor will help you put that VOO in the right context for you.


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