I was sitting at this table at a wedding in Montreal next to a woman who decided to be her own financial advisor three different times and retained outside financial planners another three times.

I'll spare you all the details of her background but suffice to say she had a number of different jobs was divorced, remarried, divorced again, children and now at age 52, was beginning to understand what is involved in investing.

She started on the financial strategy road by saving through her first employer' s stock purchase plan and built up a pretty good balance. So, with money in hand, she read some books on investing and decided to do it herself. After a few years of this, she then opted to get some help before all the money was lost. She figured that she needed an objective person who could research various potential investments for her. So, she retained one advisor but in a short period of time and didn't think he was that impressive.

Bang. Back to the self-road but now with family taking most of her time, she again turned to another planner.

The results? Not exactly spectacular although she did say that she shouldered some of the blame. Why? Because she paid very little attention to what the planner was really doing. Actually, she did give the advisor some roadmaps to follow but the advisor never followed them. And so ended that one.

Now, the portfolio she had simply sat there. Fortunately for her, the stocks were doing fairly well, like returning an average of eight percent over a four-year period. Not bad for doing nothing. So, once more she took on an advisor but this time she had learned her lesson and specifically set forth instructions for the advisor as to how she wanted her portfolio built up. She opted for blue-chip stocks that would allow her to have dividends automatically reinvested. And that worked well because her strategy here was to continue investing in such dividend-yielding blue chippers because she felt that shares in such large companies were buttressed against a bear market.

She's decided that she will retain a limited number of stocks, probably eight, because that's the most she can track on a constant basis. As far as fund accounts are concerned, she has told her advisor to move the money from actively managed accounts and into index funds within the same family, which obviates redemption fees.

So, for the general populace out there, the bottom line is that whether you have one advisor or have changed rather frequently, it's still your money and you should do with it as you want. You can certainly listen to advice and should, but the final, last decision remains yours.

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