Many banks offer investments services to their customers. These services are generally targeted to very specific customers who have large amounts of money at the bank. If you are just beginning to invest, your bank may not contact you to offer these services, but they may be available to you. The services offered are similar to the role of a financial planner or advisor.
Depending on your accounts, and the banks policies you may pay an hourly rate for these services. However, some financial advisors work on commission, and you must take that into consideration when they recommend products and services to you. Your bank may offer these services to you without a fee, which means that the financial planner can work in your best interest.
The investment services offered through your bank are not insured through the FDIC. The FDIC only guarantees deposit accounts you have through the bank, because the stock market can change, they will not guarantee the money. This does not mean you should not use your bank, since your funds are not guaranteed if the stock market drops at an investment firm as well. You just need to be aware that the accounts are not guaranteed by the FDIC.
The investment services through your bank should be comparable to the investment services you would receive through an investment firm. The key is finding a financial planner or advisor you are comfortable working with. Your financial advisor should be willing to answer any questions you have about the products you are purchasing. If he is unwilling to explain the products and how it fits into your overall investing plan, you should consider choosing another advisor.
Finding a financial planner is a process, and you should look at several different candidates before choosing the right one for you. Additionally, you may want to find out the policy if your financial planner changes companies. Will you go with him or will your account be assigned to a different planner? If you want to stay with the firm will you be able to choose your new planner or will you be stuck with someone they assign you. A financial planner is someone you can turn to for investment advice, and the job security and consistency is an important part of managing your money.
When you are looking for a financial planner ask your friends and coworkers for recommendations, find out about the services offered through your bank, interview the planners and then make your decision. While you should not choose your financial planner just because he works at your bank, you should not rule him out completely either.
If you know nothing about investing or the stock market, it is best to get advice from a financial planner who understands the markets and products available to you. Once you are more comfortable you may want to purchase stocks online through your own brokerage account. Mutual funds reduce your investment risk, because it spreads the risk over several different companies instead of just one. Any individual stocks you purchase have a greater risk because if the company fails the stocks can become almost worthless very quickly, which can be devastating to your portfolio.
You need to be sure you are ready to invest before you begin to do it. In most cases you pay more in credit card debt than you would earn from investing. This means you should pay off your consumer debt completely before you invest. The money you invest should be money that you do not touch again. You should not be dipping into your savings each month if you are investing. Make sure your budget allows enough wiggle room to protect your savings and investment accounts.