RIIA Study Suggests Advice Makes a Difference

A recent study found that retired households receiving financial advice had more assets after a 10-year period than households that did not.

The study by the Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) found a correlation between having more assets and receiving financial advice. While it does not prove that an adviser contributed to the higher assets, the results strongly endorses the role of an adviser, according to study coauthor Larry Cohen, vice president and director of Strategic Business Insights. As Cohen said, either investors who choose to regularly use advisers make better financial decisions or the adviser helps investors achieve better results. “What’s most likely is that it’s a little of both,” he said, in a release of the study results.

Coauthor Elvin Turner, managing director or Turner Consulting, LLC, noted that the research didn’t use the same sample for each year, but rather analyzed a random sample of households representing millions of people in 1994 and compared it to a similar sample of households in 2004.  When examining the 10-year period, the researchers found a stark difference between advised and non-advised households: The inflation-adjusted difference in total financial assets over the 10-year period was $106,000 for regularly advised households and $29,000 for households that never received advice.

The study was able to observe the difference in decumulation rates among retired investor households who are always, sometimes, or regularly advised before making a financial decision. Those that are always advised saw a drawdown of $107,000 in assets and sometimes advised saw a drop of $83,000. Contrastingly, those who are never advised or “don’t know” whether they are advised before major financial decisions saw drops of $357,000 and $272,000, respectively.

Cohen said the research also spotted correlations of people who are regularly advised demonstrating better “financial hygiene factors,” such as having legal documents in place and the appropriate insurance. That could be part of the reason why regularly advised retired investors had more assets. People with those hygiene factors in place have much lower chances of having to sell investments because of some type of trauma or catastrophe. “You’re more likely to have savings put away in case of emergency,” Cohen told PLANADVISER.

The advice referred to in the report could come from a variety of places, such as brokers, financial planners, attorneys, and certified public accounts. The researchers saw some differences in what types of advisers households used based on how often they seek advice. The always-advised households tended to use a more wide variety of financial advisers and were more likely to use independent financial planners and certified public accounts. The sometimes-advised households were more likely to use mutual fund advisers, independent insurance agents, and discount brokers.

More information about purchasing “Financial Advisors and Boomers: Regular Use May Be Beneficial to Your Wealth” is available here