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Pandemic Pushes Americans to Reevaluate Their Careers

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Seven in 10 Americans are thinking about adding another source of income after witnessing the economic damage caused by the pandemic, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. 

In fact, because of the pandemic, many respondents are completely reevaluating their careers, with 27% saying they are more likely to start their own business or find a new job and 25% saying they are likely to switch careers and move into a new field.

“Whether they’ve been directly affected by job losses and furloughs or not, consumers are clearly taking note of how the pandemic has disrupted the U.S. economy,” NAPFA chief executive Geoffrey Brown said in a statement. “They are looking for ways to improve their financial security and not shying away from considering major life changes.” 

Atomik Research conducted the online survey in early January among 2,006 adults in the U.S. ages 22 to 64.

The survey found that as Americans reassess their professional lives, increasing their income is their top priority. 

Forty-five percent of those who were more likely to find a new job or make a career change said they hoped to gain a higher income, 42% were after a steady income and 30% the ability to work from home. 

Similarly, of those interested in starting a business, 48% wanted a higher income, 38% to be their own boss and 33% a flexible work schedule.

Financial security is especially important to women, according to the survey. Forty-nine percent of female respondents who are looking for a new job or a different career said they wanted a steady income, compared with only 36% of men. 

The survey also identified generational differences. Younger participants were likelier than older ones to consider bigger changes in their lives as a result of the pandemic. 

Thirty-one percent of millennial respondents said they were likely to start their own business, compared with just 17% of baby boomers. However, 56% of boomers said the pandemic has made them thriftier, while only 35% of millennials said the same.

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“Regardless of how you’re reacting to the pandemic, with big changes or small ones, there are strategies you can use to maximize your opportunities for becoming more financially secure in 2021 and into the future,” Brown said.

“To be successful in these endeavors, smart financial planning is critical and a fee-only financial advisor can help navigate all types of career transitions.”

One in 10 survey participants said they already worked with an advisor.

A majority expressed interest in working with an advisor, but many cited barriers to engaging one: not knowing how to go about doing so or considering financial expertise too expensive.

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they chose not to work with a financial planner because they do their own planning.

Survey participants said their top goals in working with an advisor were saving more money, planning for retirement and paying off debt.

Asked what qualities in a financial advisor they considered most important, 48% not surprisingly cited honesty.

Twenty-six percent most wanted an advisor who understands their financial goals, 23% prioritized an advisor who truly acts in their best interests (advises rather than persuades) and 20% most cared that the professional to listen to their concerns.

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