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Navigating Investment Management: Choosing Between Active and Passive Strategies

Navigating Investment Management: Choosing Between Active and Passive Strategies

| September 12, 2023

In the realm of investment planning, a fundamental question arises: Should you lean toward active or passive investment management? Each approach carries its own merits and nuances. Whether you’re an experienced investor or just starting your journey, understanding the dynamics of these strategies can be a game-changer.

What Is Active Investment Management?

Active investment management refers to a strategy where an advisor or portfolio manager tries to outperform the market by making buy and sell decisions based on market trends and economic conditions. Active investment management is often associated with timing the market. In other words, active investors try to beat the market by selecting individual stocks, timing the market, or using other tactics like fundamental or technical analysis.

Active investment management requires a lot of time, effort, and expertise. Investment managers must conduct in-depth research, analyze financial statements, and stay up to date with the latest market trends. Additionally, active investing is usually more expensive due to the costs associated with hiring a professional investment manager, research, and trading expenses.

What Is Passive Investment Management?

Passive investment management, on the other hand, is a strategy that seeks to match the performance of a specific market index, such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Passive investors don’t try to beat the market; they aim to replicate the market’s returns by investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks or bonds. This strategy is commonly associated with buying and holding investments for a long period of time.

Passive investing is much less time-consuming and less expensive than active investing. Passive investors can purchase low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track specific market indices, providing broad exposure to the market at a low cost.

How to Decide Between Active and Passive Investing

Deciding between active and passive investing comes down to your investment goals, risk tolerance, and personal preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

Investment Goals

If you’re looking for long-term growth and want to maximize your returns, active investing may be the right choice. Active investors aim to outperform the market, which can result in higher returns than passive investing. Keep in mind that higher returns are not guaranteed and often result in higher levels of risk. If your goal is to match the market’s performance and generate steady returns over time, passive investing may be a better option.

Risk Tolerance

Active investing typically involves higher risk than passive investing since investors are usually selecting individual stocks and trying to time the market. If you have a low tolerance for risk, passive investing may be a better fit for you.

Hands-On Approach

Another factor to consider when deciding between active and passive investing is the level of oversight you want over your portfolio. Active investment management can provide a more hands-on approach, which can be appealing to some investors. This strategy allows investment advisors to choose individual stocks, monitor your portfolio closely, and make changes as needed based on extensive research and analysis.

In contrast, passive investing involves investing in a diversified portfolio that follows a specific market index, and the investor has less direct control over the individual securities included in the portfolio. 


Active investing usually involves higher fees than passive investing. Over time, these fees can have a significant impact on your investment returns. Even a small difference in fees can add up to a substantial amount over several years of investing. Depending on the returns produced with the active management approach, it may not be worth the amount spent trying to outperform the market. If you’re looking to minimize your investment expenses, passive investing may be the better choice.

Making the Right Investment Choice

Ultimately, deciding between active and passive investment management strategies hinges on your investment planning objectives, risk tolerance, and your desired level of involvement. 

At Horizon Planning Group, we understand a balanced blend of these approaches might also be worth considering. We would love the opportunity to help you make your investments work harder for you. Schedule an introductory meeting online or reach out to me at (770) 627-4157 or to get started. 

About Scott

Scott Bechely is financial advisor at Horizon Planning Group, a full-service financial planning firm committed to always doing what’s right for their clients. Scott uses his more than 15 years of experience to help his clients create a retirement income plan that aligns with their goals and helps them live the retirement lifestyle they dream of. He believes that everyone should have a chance to obtain financial independence, and he strives to help his clients design a plan that helps them sleep better at night knowing they’re on track for their ideal future.

Scott is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, focusing on finance. Outside of work, he can often be found spending time with his wife, Sara, their daughter, Anna, and their dogs, Ginger and Bailey. He loves sports and enjoys playing in his baseball league and golfing. He gives back to his community by supporting his favorite dog rescue organizations: Adopt A Golden and Golden Retriever Rescue. To learn more about Scott, connect with him on LinkedIn.

This is for educational and informational purposes only and is not research or a recommendation regarding any security or investment strategy. 

The information given herein is taken from sources that IFP Advisors, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), IFP Securities LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), and its advisors believe to be reliable, but it is not guaranteed by us as to accuracy or completeness. This is for informational purposes only and in no event should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or products. Please consult your tax and/or legal advisor before implementing any tax and/or legal related strategies mentioned in this publication as IFP does not provide tax and/or legal advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs of individual investors. This report may not be reproduced, distributed, or published by any person for any purpose without IFP’s express prior written consent.

Securities offered through IFP Securities, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through IFP Advisors, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), a Registered Investment Advisor. IFP and Horizon Planning Group, Inc. are not affiliated. 

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.