(Dow Jones) Investors are taking a more hands-on approach to their financial lives.

The past 18 months have taught individuals harsh lessons about markets' ups and downs-and made clear that investment pros are no more capable than average Joes of forecasting the future.

Investors continue to look to financial advisors for guidance; some are seeking out advisors for the first time or shopping for new ones. And many want to be more engaged than they'd previously been in decision-making.

"I think investors are taking more ownership," says Ray Sclafani, president of ClientWise, a coaching and consulting firm for financial advisors.

Nearly seven in 10 investors want to be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of their investments, according to recent data from research and consulting firm Spectrem Group.

For their part, financial advisors are reminding clients that, while they can't control factors like capital markets and interest-rate movements, investors can control their spending and saving habits and focus on their long-term goals. Of course, clients are more likely to listen to advisors who have been conveying this message all along rather than emphasizing investment performance.

"We're not magic men," says David Bekenstein a financial advisor in Reston, Va. with Brewer Financial Services. "Our job is to make sure people understand everything to the extent they can make those informed decisions."

A reliable investment income stream is a higher priority for many investors today than super-size returns, Bekenstein says, echoing industry research showing that investors have adopted a more conservative stance.

Resource Advisory Services in Knoxville, Tenn., sends a net worth statement to clients every three months with details including bank account balance, changes in debt levels and securities and retirement portfolio performance, says President J. David Lewis. The firm also produces yearly reports for clients.

"That brings them into a partnership with us," Lewis says of this feedback, which he compares to stepping on a scale. "We're not the wizards who are supposed to make them rich. All we're doing is helping them take personal responsibility."

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