New York - When you think about it, financial advisers are not so much providing impeccable investment advice as selling FUD--fear, uncertainty and doubt. In effect, they capitalize on the insecurity common in all investors, who fear they lack the mental tools to grow and preserve wealth and believe the task of managing money is so enormous that only specialized professionals can handle it.
If they accept this kind of thinking, investors become willing to fork over big commissions or pay a percentage or two of their assets for the special skills they believe only an adviser can provide. Retired Delta Air Lines pilot Bob Craft had his doubts about putting all of his faith (and his nest egg) with his broker, so he made a little contest of it.
In early 2003, he managed a portion of his own money and had two brokers managing the rest. He decided that after a couple of years he would see whose performance had lagged and then cut them loose. Well, the portion of the portfolio managed by Bob did the best, by better than a three-to-one margin. Craft now manages all of his own money.
But that's not to say he's completely on his own. He has help from a group of investors on an online investing site called ValueForum.com, from which he gets ideas and shares the due-diligence duties with more than 1,000 fellow members.
We spoke with Bob Craft recently at a ValueForum get-together in Sarasota, Fla., click here for the video.