TIAA-CREF finds trust missing in financial advice

Nearly half of Americans struggle to find trusted financial advice, according to a survey by TIAA-CREF.

The company polled a random sampling of 1,000 U.S. adults, asking them about their attitudes, preferences and behaviors about receiving financial advice.

It found that 48 percent of Americans say it is hard to know which sources of financial advice can be trusted. Thirty-seven percent say they don’t like talking to anyone about their finances.

Cost and time also figure into people’s decision to seek out financial advice, according to the survey. One-third of those polled said they don’t have time to seek financial advice and two-fifths believe that good financial advice costs more than they can afford.

“When it comes to financial advice, trust and personal touch are key if we expect individuals to take action,” said Eric Jones, senior managing director, advisory solutions at TIAA-CREF.

The poll also found more than half of Americans say they would prefer to get financial advice from a single point of contact or location. Women, who continue to be less confident than men that they are saving enough for retirement, would rather rely on friends and family for their financial advice. Men are more likely to rely on financial service provider websites and online tools.

Generation X is the most prepared when it comes to financial advice. Eighty percent of Gen Xers say they have sought out the services of a financial advisor or taken advantage of financial websites or online tools.

Forty-three percent of Generation Y says it lacks adequate retirement planning information. This generation also is more likely to focus on managing student loans and to rely on friends and family for financial advice.

People over the age of 55 say they are the most informed about retirement planning. They also are more likely to act on the financial advice they receive. More than half of these older investors say they have increased their retirement savings contributions based on financial advice they received.

The number of Americans who sought out financial advice increased 11 percentage points from 2012 to 2013, from 52 percent to 63 percent.  Additionally, 54 percent of Americans who received advice in 2013 said they were looking for ways to make their retirement savings last. That was a 9-percentage-point gain over 2012.

The survey was conducted by KRC Research by phone among a national random sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 years and older, between Aug. 28 and Sept. 2.

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