Three things are required for investment success: Knowledge, experience and time.

Consulting an independent financial advisor (or IFA) can increase your knowledge base and help you avoid any problems by tapping into their years of experience. Sign up for a financial or investment newsletter where you can be informed regularly about investment news and trends.

IFAs aren’t associated with a particular service provider or investment company, and their role is to help you plan your long-term strategy. They can help you sift through all the information to make important decisions that suit your goals and they help you avoid any pitfalls that are typically associated with investing on your own.

Of course you can do it all yourself, but it can be overwhelming.

Here is a list of the common mistakes made when investing on your own.

1. Investing Without a Plan

Always consider your goals and needs. Are you saving for retirement or maybe for your children’s education? Asking why you’re doing this and what you want will help you start your plan. An IFA can now help identify ways to achieve your financial goals.

2. Choosing the Wrong Products

There are a mind-boggling number of products to choose from. Your options may be limited to particular products by your objectives. Products may have tax benefits, while others have certain restrictions. Every product has its associated benefits and restrictions therefore it is important to be aware of these details before choosing one. An IFA can help you do the research and narrow down your options so that they suit your goals.

3. Inflation

Your money’s value erodes with time, which means you get to buy less with the same amount. This is known as inflation. Maintaining the value of your money for the length of your investment is an important factor to consider since your returns need to compensate for the effects of inflation.

4. Changing Jobs and Cashing in Your Retirement

Preserve the savings in your retirement fund, since it is quite likely you won’t be able to retire comfortably if you don’t. Cashing in your savings if you resign at 35 will leave you with 40% less during retirement.

5. Not Diversifying

Diversification is one of the keys to successful investing. It helps to grow your savings and reduces risk. Asset class knowledge is very valuable, so it helps to do some research. An IFA can help by ensuring that your investments are adequately diversified.

6. Acting Emotionally

Investors often choose to sell and buy at the wrong time, switching between products too often. This can destroy the value of your savings. An IFA can help you make rational decisions and minimize doubt during periods of volatility.

They can help you identify the right products for you and your objectives. IFAs can help you make more disciplined decisions in the face of emotional reactions. It isn’t impossible to invest on your own, but the right IFA can help prepare you for all the challenges ahead.