Do You Need to Hire an Analyst?

By Charles Hopkins Published 03/13/2006 | Finance

You may, but often it is better if you dont.

Rather, hire a broker. It depends how rational you are, of what educational level and how much time you can devote to studying your investment. For normal trading, a normal educated person does not need to hire an analyst.

All an analyst does is do the research on your behalf and direct your investment strategy. But an authorized broker serves the same purpose. And you have to hire a broker, at least in the initial stages of your stock trading career. So why invest further in an analyst?

Knowing how the stock market works is the basic route to profits through trading. You need to know the behavior pattern of your stock portfolio and analyze the ups and downs of stock prices.

If you can read these basic trends and markers for yourself, there is no reason why you should need to hire an analyst, at least in the initial, relatively uncomplicated stages of your trading. All you'll probably need is a first-time guide for deciding on your entry point. You'll normally find some experienced friend more than ready to help you with that small decision.

Secondly, you need to understand when to buy and when to sell. The final guide to successful stock investing is to buy low and sell high. But how low is low and how high is high enough is the million dollar question the investors seek the answer to. For that, there is neither a guaranteed rule nor any foolproof system. A broker may be helpful in this regard, but an expensive analyst is surely overkill.

Third, your first action after you decide to enter is to create your own system of understanding shares. Of course, hiring an analyst can help but there is no end to this dependence. There is virtually no substitute to understanding the market on your own. Making consistent plans on the basis of deep research and precisely organized information is the key to long-term success.

Another very important aspect is to know how to avoid bad decisions.

Beginners often miss out on signals and often base their decisions solely on prices. You hardly need an analyst to tell you that selling low is a bad decision, but still people often commit this mistake because of their single-minded dependence on price alone.

That a stock has fallen means not that you sell and quit but actually the opposite that you should buy and stick to your plan. You have to understand that there are many reasons leading to a drop in a stocks price, and some of them are totally independent of the soundness of the investment.

Thus, if you miss an opportunity following only the price of a stock, you may feel you need an analyst. But an analyst cannot keep you going unless you understand the dynamics of the market yourself.

An analyst cannot be a permanent fixture in your life, and does not come free. You have to measure and document your decisions and results with continuous updating. As you make transactions, document why you are making them. The objective should be to make the best decision based on currently available information. This documentation will show you why things happened and how far was your understanding from the real situations.

As unforeseen events occur, you can go back and review your documents on reasons for making the transaction. This will help you in deciding your next move (buy, sell, or hold). An analyst will have to do this if you yourself do not want to do this. But people who enter this market do so because they have some liking, some aptitude for such rigorous analysis. For them, that is the fun. Those who lack in this acumen should give a second thought whether to venture in this market at all.

These days user-friendly analyzing software are available in the market. Such software can help you to make more effective and often highly accurate trading decisions. Once you're up to speed with such, you'll find you can do as well on your own as you would hiring an analyst.