Advisers Play Critical Role in Imparting Financial Confidence

The more confident the investor, the higher their esteem for their adviser.

Thirty-seven percent of Americans are considering delaying retirement, according to the Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence. Americans’ top financial priorities are, first, having at least some guaranteed income apart from Social Security in retirement, followed by having a general savings account, having a long-term plan to meet their financial objectives and saving for routine expenses in retirement.

While many are looking ahead to retirement, only 33% are focused on their long-term financial goals, rather than short-term goals.

The study also underscored the importance of working with a financial adviser and of that adviser forming a strong bond with the investor. Among those who are the most financially confident, 71% are very satisfied with their advisers, compared with 40% of those who are least confident.

Among those working with an adviser, the No. 1 reason they have decided to do so is to get help with strategies for creating retirement income (cited by 30%), followed by savings tips (27%), getting updates on tax law changes (22%), estate planning (22%) and budgeting (21%).

“These findings support what we have seen in practice, that human relationships matter, and advisers who establish a deeper emotional connection with their clients have more satisfied and confident clients,” says Matthew Bryan, assistant vice president at The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. “Even in this age of financial apps and robo-advisers, the client-adviser connection is a critical aspect of achieving financial confidence. Advisers can use these findings to better address what drives financial and emotional confidence for their own clients, ultimately improving their client relationships.”

Guardian suggests that advisers help investors with the basics, starting with having a written financial plan to help them live within their means. They should educate people about fundamental financial concepts, Guardian says, as well as suggest products that will match their objectives.

Brightwork Partners conducted the survey for Guardian in December and January among 4,971 adult workers with household incomes of at least $50,000. The full report can be viewed here.