When the leaves start falling, you learn a great deal about a person's approach to life and investing.

One question that always seems to come up is, "What is your methodology when it comes to investing?" To which I respond, "Whichever way is going to help you reach your goals."

Now that might sound like I'm dodging the question, but it's true. I help people make decisions that are going to be the best fit for them. In fact, investing is a lot like cleaning up fallen leaves this time of year. There are two viable approaches and one that should be avoided.

The one to stay away from is where the homeowner just lets the leaves drop and hopes for the best. I can tell you that people who don't spend any time thinking about retirement are unlikely to reach their goals. The bulk of the work should fall on your advisors shoulders, but an advisor can't help a person who won't meet with them.

The second approach is to keep it simple. Just mow over the leaves and think of the little bits as lawn fertilizer. The trick is to find something that is easy to maintain and has a solid track record, with a suitable amount of risk. There are many people I've worked with who did not need to beat the market, but instead just wanted a solid return and to be able to let their investments do the work for them.

The last approach is to meticulously plan and maintain your investments. I'm going to be doing a lot of raking, bagging, and dragging bags to the curb (with your direction), but at the end of the day, everything is going to look really spectacular. The more active approach may allow some individuals to stay ahead of what the market is doing, but it requires a little bit more effort and input from the client.

So when fall arrives, have a plan. It can be easy and straightforward, or complex and sophisticated; just don't put it off until spring.

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).