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Advisor Clients Bask in Glow of Financial Confidence: Study

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Americans who work with a financial advisor not only feel well-prepared for retirement, but are also more financially confident overall, according to a new study released Tuesday by Northwestern Mutual.

The findings are part of Northwestern Mutual’s annual Planning & Progress Study. Two earlier segments focused on debt and the current state of financial optimism.

The latest study found that 70% of respondents who used advisors said their retirement plan was designed to endure market ups and downs, compared with 30% without advisors.

In addition, 92% of those who received financial advice had discussed retirement with someone, while only 51% without an advisor had done so.

Study participants without financial advisors were twice as likely as those with advisors to consider lack of savings as an obstacle to retirement security.

And 49% of those without an advisor said they had done nothing to address the possibility of outliving their savings, compared with just 15% of those with an advisor.

“Working with an advisor is like having an experienced guide map out an itinerary for your retirement journey that’s tailored to your unique lifestyle goals and circumstances,” Rebekah Barsch, Northwestern Mutual’s vice president for planning, said in a statement.

The findings came from interviews conducted in mid-February by Harris Poll with 2,749 American adults: 2,117 in the general population and an oversample of 632 millennials.

Financial Advice: Attendant Advantages

The survey findings showed that besides a heightened level of retirement readiness, 68% of respondents who worked with advisors reported feeling very financially secure, compared with 36% who did not work with one.

In addition, 77% of individuals with advisors viewed themselves as highly disciplined or disciplined planners, compared with 41% of those without an advisor.

Northwestern Mutual suggested that good financial habits may be a main reason why people with advisors report significantly less anxiety about debt, income, poor credit and unplanned health or financial emergencies.

“Financial security is empowering,” Barsch said. “It enables you to live confidently — with more flexibility and less stress.”

The findings showed that respondents’ optimistic outlook extended beyond personal finances for those with advisors versus those without:

  • U.S. economy will be better this year than in 2016: 52% vs. 39%

  • American Dream is still attainable for most Americans: 59% vs. 43%

More Americans appear to be embracing the value of professional financial advice, albeit at a slow pace, according to the study. In 2017, 35% had an advisor, up from 31% last year.

— Check out Why Many of Your Prospects Are Broke on ThinkAdvisor.