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‘Unnerved’ Investors Seek Confidence In Advice

News headlines surrounding the recent U.S. elections and the future of the Affordable Care Act have left many investors unnerved, says Jim Jessee, with MFS.

By John Manganaro editors@assetinternational.com | April 20, 2017

The 2017 MFS Heritage Planning Survey shows two-thirds of investors have identified rising healthcare costs as one of their top concerns over the next three years.

And there are other widespread causes of anxiety, according to MFS. Approximately half of the investors surveyed identified the U.S. federal deficit, Social Security benefits and volatility in the stock market among their top concerns.

Older investors are particularly concerned about rising healthcare costs, with more than three-quarters indicating they are either “very” or “extremely concerned” about this topic. Millennials and Generation X investors are “more focused on saving enough for retirement, with more than two-thirds of respondents in both groups indicating a high level of concern.”

Jim Jessee, co-head of global distribution with MFS, observes that six in 10 investors have delayed or will delay a major life event due to their current financial situation.

"Clearly, the barrage of headlines surrounding the recent U.S. elections and the Affordable Care Act has left many investors unnerved,” Jessee says. “And although these are real concerns, they aren't insurmountable. Financial advisers can add a lot of value by talking to their clients about the things that keep them up at night and helping them get their financial houses in order.”

The research suggests Generation X is especially well suited for one-on-one financial advice.

“Generation X investors are relatively pessimistic about their financial future,” MFS reports. “Just one-third of Generation X investors are confident in their ability to address financial concerns and meet their long-term financial goals—the lowest among all generations surveyed.”

MFS Director of Business Development Doug Orton, observes this group simply hasn’t saved enough to feel confident, “and unlike many of their parents, they don't have pensions or defined benefit plans to fall back on.”

“They are desperately looking for guidance,” he adds. “In fact, 85% of Generation X investors surveyed said they look to their financial adviser for retirement savings advice and approximately 60% say they will rely on their adviser more in the coming years.”

Like Generation X, MFS finds Millennials are “also pushing out significant family and career milestones,” due in large part to financial uncertainty. Still, Millennials are fairly optimistic about the future. Seven in 10 believe their financial situation will improve over the next three years and roughly half of those surveyed are confident in their ability to meet their long-term financial goals.