Nearly half (49%) of affluent Americans interviewed two or more financial advisors before choosing the one that was right for them, with 38% interviewing three or more advisors, according to the latest Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey.
The survey of about 1,000 individuals with $250,000 or more in investable assets also found that rising college expenses, significant health-care costs and the need for retirement income top the list of financial concerns.
“Our latest survey finds that younger adults are far more concerned about their financial futures than older Americans,” said Sallie Krawcheck (left), president, Global Wealth & Investment Management, Bank of America, in a statement. “This puts a spotlight on a need to meet this next generation on their terms and with a heightened sensitivity to a changed economic and financial landscape.”
The survey also found that, compared to a generation ago, more parents today begin speaking with children about money before the age of 12: Just 42% of parents over the age of 65 spoke with their children about financial matters at such a young age, compared to 76% of parents today ages 35 and 50, the survey found.
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Close to 90% of parents use one or more milestones in their children’s lives to initiate conversations with them about financial matters, the results indicate. Plus, among parents who work with a financial advisor, 64% have shared with their children some form of advice received from their advisor.
“There are three things that jump off the page with our latest survey,” said David Tyrie (left), head of personal retirement solutions for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, in an interview with AdvisorOne. “We get a lot of insight as to what parents are doing with respect to financial planning in their families, the results reinforce current health and wealth concerns and what they mean for clients, and we see that finding the right financial advisor is a critical success factor.”
The cost of college education is a significant concern for 46% of affluent vs. 41% in January 2011. Americans overall, according to the survey, and this concern jumps to 99% among the younger affluent (ages 18 to 34).
High health-care costs now tops the list of financial concerns for most affluent investors, 70% in June 2011 vs. 64% in January, while retirement income is also on the minds of the affluent, 65% vs. 57% in January 2011.
As for the top financial, economic and political concerns that may be contributing to fears over retirement security, the national debt is the highest concern, 81%, followed by budget battles in Washington, D.C., 73%.