Use of Online Tools, Advice Boosts Savings

Mobile banking apps are the most commonly used online tool.

Investors who frequently use online tools and consult with a financial adviser have higher savings than those who do not, according to a survey by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

The most digitally connected investors have the highest average household income and highest total investable assets. They spend an average of three hours and forty-two minutes a week reviewing their finances or looking up financial information on a computer or mobile device. Of the 45% of survey participants who say they are “very connected” to their finances, 50% look at financial headlines every day and 50% use a mobile application to access their accounts. More than one-third of these “very connected” investors would like even more information.

“The most digitally connected investors tend to be better informed, which contributes to their success and positions them well for the future,” says Rich Ramassini, director of strategy for PNC Investments. “For instance, they are more likely to know about the fiduciary standard for investment advisers, and are more likely to consult with an adviser who follows the standard. The information and advice they access should give them an advantage as they save and invest for retirement.”

The survey also found that 60% of the “very connected” investors rely on an adviser. Two-thirds of investors would like to hear from their financial advisers, particularly during an economic downturn.

“Making a change in a portfolio during periods of market volatility is the chief source of regret among investors,” Ramassinin says. “A financial adviser can be a steady hand in times of stress and help avoid panic selling or buying. When it comes to successful saving, information—particularly information gained through a combination of digital resources and expert advice—is powerful.

The most commonly used app is for mobile banking, which 58% of respondents have used in the past year. However, only 37% have used mobile apps to access their investment accounts, which indicates, PNC says, that firms could do more to promote these resources.

Artemis Strategy Group conducted the survey for PNC among 1,002 adults between the ages of 35 and 75 in May. Those age 45 or older had investable assets of $100,000 or more, and those between the ages of 35 and 44 had investable assets of $50,000 or more.