Americans Comfortable Engaging With Financial Advisers via Mobile Tools

However, 20% say they expect to connect via mobile apps and over the phone less when the pandemic is over.

Social media is influencing how some Americans make financial decisions, according to the “2021 TIAA Digital Engagement Survey.”

While financial services providers’ online tools are the most trusted resource for information (63%), 20% of the 1,000 adults surveyed say social media content is also a go-to resource. One-third say they trust social media content to help them make financial decisions, and 32% say they trust social media influencers and celebrities’ financial advice.

The survey also finds Americans are open to using new devices to manage their finances. Respondents say they feel comfortable using home voice assistants (42%), smartwatches (43%), or a chatbot on a financial provider’s website (44%) to manage their finances. One-third of respondents say they already use digital tools from their financial provider to track financial information across accounts.

However, 39% indicate they still prefer to use desktop computers to manage their finances, including their bank account balances and retirement plans, despite being open and comfortable with using new technologies.

About half of respondents say they are OK with opening—or already have opened—accounts without speaking to a person first. This includes checking accounts (36%), retirement savings accounts (19%), or brokerage accounts (9%).

For those who work with a financial adviser, half prefer to continue interacting over the phone to using video calls (25%). One in five respondents also say they don’t anticipate connecting with their financial provider as often via mobile app or over the phone following the end of the pandemic unless they need to address an account or investment concern.

Of any age group, Millennials—and especially male Millennials—are spending the most time managing their finances. Although half of Americans spend less than one hour a week on their finances, 39% of Millennials say they spend four or more hours a week managing theirs, compared with just 25% of Generation Z respondents and only 7% of Baby Boomers. Men are nearly twice as likely as women to spend four hours or more a week on their personal finances (30% vs. 16%).

In addition, younger generations are more apt to get financial wellness checkups. Two-thirds have never had a financial checkup with a provider. However, more than half of respondents younger than 65 say they are interested in a financial wellness checkup, compared with just 30% of those older than 65. The most preferred method of meeting for a financial wellness checkup is in person (26%).