More People Turning to Financial Professionals for Investment Advice

In addition, the use of online sources of information and advice is growing.

“Employer” is the eighth most important source of investment advice and information in 2017, cited as a primary, usual or occasional source by 46% of households nationally, according to a report from Hearts & Wallets. Employer is the primary source for only 27% of households.

Employer is the 10th source for frequency of sources, trailing the leaders of myself, partner/spouse, media (newspapers/radio/TV/radio), family, online, friends, financial professionals and other sources, the survey found.

Instead, the leading source of investment advice and information is “myself,” at 91%, increasing from 86% in 2013. “Spouse/partner” comes in second at 85%, up from 75% in 2013. Financial professionals come in third at 71%, up from 64% in 2013.

All types of financial professionals as a group grew as a source of information and advice overall, increasing seven percentage points from in 2013. Although use of paid investment professionals declined by one percentage point at the national level since 2013, other types of financial professionals, mostly unpaid, grew by more than nine percentage points.

Investors are increasing use of all sources of information and advice in 2017, and at the same time, are more likely to blend live and digital sources of advice. Using this emerging definition of “hybrid” investors, 41% of households use both digital advice as well as live financial professionals.

The biggest blenders of digital and live advice are the more affluent and younger consumers. Blenders of digital and live advice include more than two-thirds (68%) of investors ages 35 to 44 with investable assets between $100,000 and $250,000 and 85% of investors younger than 35 who have more than $1 million in assets. In all, more than 75% of consumers younger than 45 with assets of more than $250,000 meet this “hybrid” definition.

According to the survey, more than half of U.S. households now uses online sources of investment information and advice. Computer and mobile growth as a source continues among younger investors (ages 21 to 39) and pre-retirees. Mobile use as a source of information and advice has tripled over the last six years at the national level. Nearly two thirds (60%) of investors ages 21 to 27 now use mobile, and investors ages 40 to 52 are warming to mobile, at 31%.

The top three online activities nationally for investors are checking their accounts, using planning calculators and tools, and visiting finance portals. For mobile, the top two activities are the same, but “using social media” and “watching videos and podcasts” tie for No. 3. The biggest generational difference is that younger investors tend to be more interested in social media, watching videos and downloading podcasts. Almost half of investors ages 21 to 39 now use social media for investing information.

Information about how to purchase the report, Advice & Technology: Rise of Mobile and New Thinking on the “Hybrid Investor,” is available here.