Do It Yourself or Visit the Barber?

BarberJust because you shouldn't ask the barber if you need a haircut doesn't mean there isn't value in someone else cutting your hair.

Feed your kids when they are hungry.  Clean your kids when they are dirty.  That’s all that should be written in stone when it comes to parenting and even that cleaning them thing is not necessarily correct 100% of the time (I was the kid that would go straight back to the creek after getting hosed off for lunch).  There are tons of books about child-rearing, many of which conflict with each other.  They are not necessarily written to help parents make decisions so much as to make them feel a sense of control.  “Do this, don’t do that” – it all goes out the window under live action.  Kids do not understand where the boundaries of life sit.  They don’t “think outside the box” because they haven’t registered the existence of the box yet.  Any action is a viable option at any given time.

My wife and I got a reminder of this when our 9-year old son came downstairs yesterday.  He was his usual chatty self, but something was off.  It took two moments before Carrie asked him, “Did you cut your hair?!?!”  It was a mom’s nightmare come to life, especially since William has beautiful blonde hair that is turning golden in the summer sun.  It’s been getting long and the curls from his younger days were coming back, matching his younger brother.  Goodbye curls.  William didn’t understand what was wrong.  The hair was getting long.  He had some spare time and a pair of scissors.  After an emergency visit to the barber, he now has a buzz cut.  Happy Father’s Day.

Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut, but…

William’s DIY haircut got me thinking about DIY investing.  I just take electric clippers to my head to trim what’s left up there.  It’s simple, straightforward, and barely qualifies as a haircut.  Likewise, if your financial plan is super simple, you probably don’t need a pro to advise you on what to do.  However, problems start to pop up for investors when they don’t have proper context for their portfolio decisions.  William viewed his decision as “do I need a haircut – yes or no?”  After deciding yes, he started cutting, not seeing how his cuts looked in relation to the rest of his hair.  Likewise, some people just view investing as “do I need to invest – yes or no?”  Once that decision is done, they build a collection of investments without an eye to the entire portfolio and without a goal in mind.

That’s not to say there’s one right way to style hair or manage finances, just don’t be afraid to do some research or talk to a pro before cutting your hair.