How can you know what you don't know? That is the problem at the heart of getting people professional help with investing. Well, it's one of them anyway.
A Harris Poll released earlier this month found that three-quarters of the population say they are concerned about having enough money to retire, but less than half of the poll respondents say they need guidance on investing their savings.
Evidence points to the possibility that maybe people need a little bit more help than they think. This year's Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior from DALBAR, a financial services market research firm, showed, again, that investors tend to be their own worst enemies.
The average stock investor got a return of 25.54 percent in 2013 compared to 32.41 percent for the Standard and Poor's 500 benchmark index. In a year where it was hard to pick the wrong stocks, people probably took on more risk than was necessary, according to DALBAR's analysis.
But, the rubber meets the road when the market declines. That's when the most egregious investor mistakes are made, DALBAR reports. Not coincidentally, that is when investment advisers earn their keep as they advise clients to stay the course and talk them out of rashly selling investments when the market is down.
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Senior investing reporter Sheyna Steiner is a co-author of "Future Millionaires' Guidebook," an e-book written by Bankrate editors and reporters. It's available at all the major e-book retailers.