Wanted: Holistic, Certified Planning

Americans are interested in holistic financial advice and competent advisers with a financial planning certification, according to a survey.

Nearly all Americans expect a financial adviser to take into account their entire financial situation, with more than two-thirds wanting advisers to provide comprehensive financial planning services, according to a survey released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).

A vast majority of those surveyed (91%) said they want their adviser to take into account their total financial situation.  More than two-thirds of survey respondents (70%) also said they would prefer working with an adviser who provides across-the-board financial planning services, compared with 30% who said they would choose someone who specializes only in one area such as retirement.

Certifications are also important to Americans choosing a financial adviser, with 84% of those surveyed saying they play a role in choosing an adviser. Most of those surveyed (87%) said they would feel more confident working with someone who has a financial planning certification, and more than two-thirds (68%) also preferred working with someone with a certification or designation that “demonstrate(s) knowledge of multiple financial areas” such as investments, taxes, insurance and budgeting.

Another finding was that nearly half of those surveyed (48%) said “strong knowledge of financial planning” was most important to them in choosing a financial adviser, with 64% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 saying it was most important. The survey also showed there seems to be an opportunity for current and prospective financial advisers, as 41% of Americans report that they haven’t worked with an adviser.

“As Americans’ finances become more and more complex, they are turning to advisers who can partner with them, look at their total financial picture, put all the pieces together and provide a comprehensive financial plan,” said Kevin R. Keller, chief executive of the CFP Board.

The survey was conducted online between August 8 and August 11 among a national sample of 1,012 men and women, 18 years of age and older. Results are weighted by age, gender, region, race and education to be representative of the U.S. adult population.

More information about the CFP certification is at www.CFP.net/get-certified. A copy of the survey report by ORC International can be accessed here or at www.cfp.net.