I’ve been attempting to teach myself how to play the guitar for about two years now.  Between YouTube videos, online classes, and e-books, I’ve gotten to be OKAY.

A few months ago, however, I felt I hit a wall with my progress.  It was frustrating.  Having essentially taught myself the drums 12 years ago, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do the same with the guitar.

I knew how to make all of the different chords, strumming patterns, and could play along with the guitar tutorials on YouTube, but I wasn’t satisfied.  I wanted to be able to create my OWN music, and I was finding it difficult to accomplish that with the tools at my disposal.

Enter: my good friend Pat Crowley.  Back in 2014, I played drums in a cover band called Changing Lanes.  Pat started the band, and is still currently the lead singer/guitarist.  (Side note – if you are in the tristate area, go check them out!  They are killing it up and down the east coast!)

Pat has been giving me guitar lessons for the last few weeks, and even through just a handful of lessons, I’ve already hit a breakthrough.  Pat was able to identify what the steps were for me to get me to the next level of where I wanted to go.  We’ve started writing songs together and, with his guidance, I’m finding it easier and easier to make strides on the guitar.

During a conversation with Brendan yesterday about my progress on the guitar, we were able to compare the situation I was in to some people’s situation using strictly a robo-advisor for their investments.

**Note: This is NOT meant to be a knock on robo-advisors. I promise.**

For some people, doing their own research and taking the ‘do-it-yourself’ method for investing works for them.  Utilizing a robo-advisor is a cheap, effective way to handle their investments.

For other people, as we’re beginning to find out during the last few months, it is NOT an effective way to handle their investments.

The same goes for the guitar.  Some people are perfectly capable of teaching themselves everything they need to know about the guitar on their own, and become a masterful player.  For other people, like me, an extra push from an experienced player was needed to get to the next level of success.

One of the other main components of my successful relationship with Pat is that I have a great, trusting relationship with him.  We’ve known each other for years, and it makes lessons fun, more productive, and just a more pleasant experience overall.  He understands how I learn, and what my goals are with music.

The same can be said for working with a trusted advisor.  For some robo-advisors, there is an option to call the custodian and speak to an advisor, or even a CFP.  That is a wonderful option to have.

However, there can sometimes be a lack of a trusting relationship considering the client and the advisor have usually never spoken before and have never met in person.

The same way my lessons with Pat make me more comfortable, having a strong advisor-client relationship can make the process more comfortable as well for both parties.

It’s often said that real friends will tell you what you NEED to hear versus what you WANT to hear.  A trusted advisor will tell you the harsh realities needed to achieve financial success.

For the first time in a while, the market is going through a *somewhat* prolonged slump.  I use asterisks because in the grand scheme of market history, two months of a slumping market is HARDLY prolonged.  However, everything is relative.  In comparison to the last handful of years in the market, this is a difficult period for investors.

It is also one of the few times that investors with their money in a robo-advisor are having to deal with this type of volatility.  The will power of the average investor is being put to the test.  Those with a trusted advisor have, at the very LEAST, another hurdle to jump over before they can panic-sell and go to cash.  Those taking the DIY approach are left to their own devices.  Time will tell what kind of impact that will have on the portfolio.

The same could be said about my guitar progress.  Now having Pat to report back to, it makes it significantly more difficult for me to simply give up and stop playing altogether.  Even at times when I might get frustrated, or feel like I’m not making progress, he is there to keep me on track.

Whether you’re taking lessons while learning a new instrument, or choosing between working with a trusted advisor or going it alone, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of BOTH, and what would work best for you.

Like I said earlier, some people might be fine going it alone, and some people might need a little extra help.

There is no definitive right or wrong answer.  There is only what’s best for YOU.

Who knows, maybe I’ll write a song about this one day! (LOL)

Now Go Talk About It!