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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Americans demand clarity, transparency

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A survey of 1,214 American homeowners and investors conducted by Siegel+Gale found 84 percent are more likely to trust a company that doesn’t use industry jargon in communications. Seventy-nine percent say a government mandate that “clarity, transparency, and plain English be a requirement of every new law, regulation and policy” is “very important.”

The survey also found that while consumers are highly distrustful of the financial industry, they are willing to shoulder some of the blame for the financial crisis. While 63 percent feel the industry in general is intentionally vague to hide risks or “keep people in the dark,” over half admitted they didn’t read or fully understand the documents they signed. Fifty percent of consumers surveyed agreed the final responsibility of understanding risk associated with financial products lies with the consumer.

Consumers reported increased interest in jargon-free explanations of a variety of products and services:

  • A 79 percent increased interest in investing in a financial product;
  • A 73 percent increased interest in selecting a broker or a financial advisor;
  • A 67 percent increased interest in purchasing a life insurance policy;
  • A 63 percent increased interest in taking out a loan; and
  • A 63 percent increased interest in applying for a credit card.


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