Rather than poring over companies' prospectuses or comparing the performance of dozens of mutual funds versus the three- and five-year Lipper average, people who hire financial planners to manage their investments spend more time boning up on other more practical, short-term financial matters while also keeping a close on eye on their long-term objectives.

According to a new survey of middle-class Americans, 41% of investors who hire a financial planner said they spend a significant amount of time monitoring their personal stock investments compared to only 23% who are investing on their own. In other words, people who are paying people to pick the stocks and funds their retirements are dependents upon make almost twice as much of an effort to track their investments' daily or monthly performance.

But that's not all they're doing with this free time while the do-it-yourself crowd, presumably, is busy analyzing charts and reading business sections of every newspaper, magazine and website available.

According to First Command Financial Services' Behavior Index, 40% of investors working with a money pro stay up to date on the stock market's overall performance compared to just 26% of investors who aren't working with a financial planner.

They're also more likely to check their credit scores (21% vs. 14%), check loan rates (27% vs. 20%) and monitor legislation related to and changes to the tax code (28% vs. 19%).

"These findings have interesting implications for all middle-class consumers, especially those who choose to do their own financial planning," First Command CEO Scott Spiker said in the report. "Do-it-yourselfers may not be investing as much time monitoring their finances as those people who choose to delegate some or all planning responsibilities to a professional."

Of the 1,000 U.S. households with an annual income of at least $50,000, 35% of those working with a financial planner said they check mutual fund allocations compared to just 20% of DIY investors. Similarly, 34% of those receiving professional advice still go out of their way to check interest rates on their various deposit accounts versus only 24% of the lone wolves.

"This is yet another compelling example of the value of working with a trusted financial coach, someone who can do some of the heavy lifting and thereby give consumers more time to keep tabs on the important issues that affect their long-term financial plans," Spiker added.

And when it comes time to choose a financial planner, nearly half of all investors said they opted to sign on with an advisor recommended by either a friend or relative.

Of this group, 90% said they trust their advisor and would recommend that person to their friends and relatives.  

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