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Selma vs. DIY investment solutions – Episode #2

Sonja Egger
by: Sonja Egger10 min read

In the realm of financial service providers, Selma is a digital financial advisor. To give you the best overview of your investment options and what the differences are, we are launching this mini-series where Selma is entering the ring with banks, private bankers, DIY solutions, and robo-advisors. 🥊

In the first episode you read about all the differences between Selma and the average bank. Today, it’s time to talk about the popular option of  DIY investment solutions and how they compare to your friendly digital financial advisor. 

Before we start with the comparison, what does “Do It Yourself” investment solution even mean? With a DIY investing solution you pick your assets aka bonds, stocks, ETFs etc. on your own. You monitor your portfolio by yourself and you make all the trades as needed (also by yourself). 

Round #01 - Costs 

Costs are always a big topic on our mind when we think about using either a service or do take matters into our own hands. Round 1 takes a look at the cost difference between DIY solutions and a digital financial advisor (aka Selma). 

With a DIY investing solution, you are responsible for purchasing and selling your own investments, so you will incur trading fees each time you make a transaction. These fees can vary depending on the broker you choose. Additionally, you may need to pay annual fees for certain investment products, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Most digital solutions will come with a set fee. If we take Selma as an example, you have a yearly fee that will get lower the more you invest. The fee includes custody, covers all trading costs and you don’t need to pay for adding or taking money out of your account. 💰

Round #02 – Control and Knowledge 

Round 2 tackles the question of how much control you have over your portfolio and how much knowledge you need to have to manage said portfolio. 

As you already figured out DIY means you do absolutely everything by yourself. You can freely choose what product you want to add to your portfolio – thus you have full control over your money and where you want to invest it. You can freely adapt your portfolio, sell and buy whenever you think it is a good time to do so. Selma, on the other hand, looks at your financial big picture and crafts a personal investment plan for you that fits your life and your goals. While you have the choice between a “normal” portfolio or a sustainable option (which then focuses on sustainable assets) you don’t have a free choice in what products Selma puts your money. This leads us to our next question “is having control about everything in my portfolio better than getting help from a digital financial advisor?” The answer is “it depends.” It depends a lot on your knowledge. 🤔


A portfolio is a collection of investments such as stocks, bonds, precious metals etc. which is managed as a whole with a specific investment goal in mind.

A DIY investment solution requires knowledge! Already when setting up your portfolio there are many questions you need to ask yourself. How high is your risk tolerance? How long should your investment horizon be? How diversified do you want your portfolio to be? How much of a return would be your ideal outcome? And many, many more questions you should have an answer to before starting. You need to have a good understanding of the markets and need to know what is currently going on, how it affects the markets and your portfolio and which next steps are right for you. Thus, most successful DIY investors usually have a deep knowledge about investing and most of the time already have investment experience. 

When investing with Selma you don’t need to have any previous experience or knowledge about investing. After a short chat with your favourite digital financial advisor, you receive your individual investment plan and a portfolio that suits your risk profile, your goals and more importantly your life. You don’t have to follow the markets on your own and you don’t need to figure out what to do next when markets don’t look so great – as Selma is here to do exactly that for you. No finance degree needed! 🎓

And if you still have questions about the markets or are not sure if what you see in your portfolio is really the right thing for you, there are real people behind Selma who are there to assist you with all your questions. Just hop in the chat or send an email to the Customer Support and you get your answers right away from human expertise.

Round #03 - Risk and Time management

Round 3 is all about risk and time management. 

Risk management
When you want to invest by yourself there are two main questions when it comes to risk. First one is “how much risk do you want to take?” For example, if you decide to put all your money only in stocks you are completely exposed to the risks of the stock market, meaning your investments can lose quickly. To minimize the risk you should also consider adding lower-risk investments such as bonds. How many of those you should add depends on the second question “how much risk can I take?” Even if this question sounds similar to the first one – how much risk you should take is dependent on how much of your savings you invest in which products, how long you plan to invest and what your overall financial situation looks like. For example, if you invest most of your money in stocks, it can make sense to try to reduce the risk. After all, if you invest all of your money in stocks these would be your only reserves. 

Sounds tricky, right? Risk is definitely a big part to consider when investing. So, if you don’t want to rack your brains Selma might be your knight in shining armour (without a horse). When opening an account your risk profile gets automatically assessed and your investment strategy is built to suit your risk tolerance and your risk capacity. You will receive a well-diversified portfolio so not all your eggs end up in the same basket and you can relax because Selma is doing the hard work for you. This leads us to the last keyword of our round 3. Time management. ⌚


Rather than investing in a single company, industry, sector or asset class a diverse portfolio invests across a range of different companies, industries and asset classes. This is a good way to reduce your risk.

Time management
DIY solution means you buy a few stocks there, a few ETFs here and never touch them again? Unfortunately, not. Successful DIY investing requires time. It takes a lot of research and you need to actively manage your portfolio meaning you should have an eye on how your investments do, how is the market developing, does this all still suit your strategy and risk choice, what are the next steps you have to take to get the best out of your investments and last but not least when should you buy or when do you need to sell? 

A digital financial planner, such as Selma can save you a lot of time. Selma follows your investment plan and has an eye on the market 24/7. Your portfolio automatically adjusts when you update your investor profile, to make sure your investments and risks always suit your life situation. You don’t need to have any experience with investing but you can still start your investing journey without a hassle. And without spending hours and hours in front of your computer, books and newspapers to figure this “investment thing” out. Instead you can lean back, have a cup of coffee and spend your time as you wish.

Investor profile

Your profile that includes eg. your savings, mortgages, owned apartment and other investments you have, which is the base for your investment strategy.

All in all, when choosing between a digital financial advisor and a DIY investing solution, it all comes down to your personal preferences and investment goals. Ask yourself, how much do you want to be involved in every aspect of your investments? Do you want to choose each stock, bond, ETF etc on your own? Or is a more straight-forward solution with less time consuming practices more your thing? Whichever option you choose, it is good to do some research in advance and understand the pros and cons of each side, then you can make an informed decision and start building your wealth.

About the author
Sonja Egger

Sonja Egger

Sonja is a communication pro with background in Media and Intercultural Communication. She is here with the mission to keep your content varied, interesting and enjoyable. Outside of working hours Sonja is either swinging the paint brush or watching cat videos. 😺