When it comes to investing, your time horizon is important. If you are a young parent who wants to save money for your kid’s college fund, your investing strategy will be much different from the 30-year-old who is single and for whom retirement is potentially decades away.  Your financial advisor should guide your investments based on your needs, what your long term and short-term goals are, and the level of risk you are comfortable with in light of your needs.

In any investing scenario, your financial advisor should be checking back in with you, at least yearly (if not more) to constantly assess your goals and the risks you want to take.  A reliable financial advisor will tell you that sticking to a plan based on your goals, your time horizon, and your individual risk tolerance should be your priority, as opposed to pitching stocks to you or recommending investment vehicles that only produce large commissions or fees for your advisor.

Likewise, a reliable advisor will also make sure you are diversifying your investment portfolio so as to mitigate the risks of market volatility.  Financial advisors will want to make sure you aren’t overly allocated to any one sector or investment — even if it’s something you love—and that you have an appropriate mix of fixed income and equity investments.

Reliable financial advisors are focused on your goals and they will have different strategies based on the phase or time of your life.  If you are young and want to grow your nest egg, they will steer you more to long term investments.  If you are closing in on retirement in less than five years, they will guide you to be low risk and avoid the market’s unpredictable movements.

Rob E. Linkin is a partner in Munck Wilson Mandala’s litigation practice. Rob represents clients in complex litigation, securities litigation, and class action lawsuits. He brings more than 24 years of legal experience advising clients in business disputes, financial reporting, and commercial litigation.