Too many people consider life as a game of Monopoly.
They think they can gamble on property, or the share market, without the right knowledge or advice.
But unlike the famous board game, there is no miraculous pot of money in real life that we can dip into whenever we need it.
Launching yourself into property investment without knowing the stakes or understanding the pros and cons can really be a recipe for financial disaster.
So here are six reasons why you should use professional advice to formulate your investment strategy.
It's a fact that most people think they're better at most things than they really are.
Sure some of us are good at a few things, and some might even be experts in some areas, but that doesn't mean that confidence works in every single arena.
We can’t all be above average at knowing the ins and outs of the property world.
In fact, if most people compared themselves with property professionals, whose success is predicated on understanding the sector, they're probably going to come out second best.
The truth of the matter is if you don't know your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to property or any financial strategy, that overconfidence will likely catch up with you and you'll pay for it – literally.
Humans all have emotions and sometimes they can get the better of us.
But a successful investment strategy has no room for emotion – it needs to be developed around cold hard facts.
The problem with property is that we all seem to have a deep emotional connection to it because we've all had childhood homes or we've long had a desire to be a homeowner.
With so much emotion washing around inside our heads, it can sometimes be difficult to make unemotional property decisions.
And this is where a qualified adviser can assist, and be a voice of reason, to ensure you make property investment decisions with your head and not your heart.
Sure a few people are tax experts, but the vast majority of people are not and will likely never be.
Property investment involves a raft of potential tax benefits that can be financially lucrative to you over the long term, but you must first understand them to make the most of them.
Of course, there can also be significant penalties if you accidentally, or otherwise, claim deductions that you're not entitled to – and that's not a good result for any investor.
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Investment pros know the best approaches to this potential landmine, especially since tax laws can change drastically from one year to the next.
There's a saying that it takes 10 years of intense practice to become an expert in anything.
So unless you've been immersed in the property investment sector – learning along the way – for a decade or more, you probably don't have the necessary knowledge to ensure success.
You may have some knowledge about some aspects of the property world, but you probably don't have enough knowledge about its lesser-known vagaries.
If terms like "loan-to-value ratios" or "gross rental yields" make your head spin and your eyes glaze over, then don't manage your own investment portfolio.
When you're young and just starting out in life, you may have the time to keep track of your investments, but eventually, life will get busy.
One of the only constants in life is that it changes –sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
When major life events like illness, children, or a death in the family happen, how capable will you be to look after your portfolio?
When we experience stressful moments in life, we're more likely to forget things, let things slip through the cracks, or simply make mistakes – and this can have a detrimental long-term impact on our portfolio.
Unfortunately, your retirement planning could be one of those areas that are neglected so having an investment professional helps to eliminate that from happening.
They can keep your investment strategy wheels turning until life gets back on an even keel.
A key part of a successful investment strategy is to have a team of professionals behind you who are all working towards your end goal.
But unfortunately, most property investors try to do it all themselves – and that usually does not work.
It's important to understand that investing is only one aspect of planning for retirement.
You also need to take steps to protect your money, which involves specialists in other areas such as estate planning, wills and trusts; long‑term care; health and life insurance; and accounting and tax issues.
So, even if you're reasonably good at investing, you still need other people on your team to protect the gains you make – and an investment professional can help you choose the right people.
Property investment can be a successful wealth creation tool but it's not as easy as winning a game of Monopoly – that's why it always pays to have professional advisors on your team along the way.