The most basic question the average person should ask before hiring an investment consultant is, “Can I do this on my own, or do I need help?” Those that believe they can invest on their own should also ask themselves if they have the time and the temperament necessary for the long haul. Those who say that they need help also must ask themselves if they will follow investment advice that occasionally challenges their comfort zone. Whether someone does it on their own or has help, it is important to understand that there are very few things the investor has actual control over. The markets vary and even very well-structured investments can take years of patience to work out and trying to out-fox the market just doesn’t work. One factor the investor does have some control over is how much and who he pays to invest his money. Find out how you are paying. Are there commissions? What are the stated fees and what are the hidden fees? Investors should not be reluctant to ask these questions.