Unintended Consequence

Unintended ConsequenceLIMRA recently surveyed 2,000 Americans to gauge their knowledge of basic financial and retirement topics.  Not surprisingly, the respondents didn’t do very well.

However, the study did disclose that those who work with a financial professional were more likely to have a higher level of financial literacy. More specifically, consumers who use advisors are more likely to save for retirement (78 percent versus 43 percent), are likely to save at a higher rate (61 percent versus 38 percent) and feel more confident that their savings will last throughout their retirement years (71 percent versus 43 percent).  Even so, 8 out of 10 respondents say they only would pay $100 or less for financial advice.

The good news is thus that financial advisors seem to help (even though one could raise correlation/causation questions about the data).  However, the bad news is that the vast majority of people seem unwilling to pay for such advice.

One obvious conclusion from the survey is that our industry needs to do a much better job demonstrating the value of the services we render.  Clearly we have failed in that regard.  However, given those numbers, isn’t is also just possible that an unintended consequence of a uniform fiduciary standard and a fee-only investment world (and the elimination of commission-based services) — the direction the industry seems to be headed — might be that those who are not in the “high net worth” class, which are already highly underserved, would receive even less service?  

It’s a question well worth asking.

One thought on “Unintended Consequence

  1. it would seem to me that a fee based service is less desirable by the public at large and yet they are willing to pay a commission for services rendered . If you look at the billions of dollars in mutual funds this is an indication that people are willing to pay for services .

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