February 21, 2024

A recent survey by financial services firm Betterment sheds further light on why advisors must feel good about their work.

Betterment’s 2023 Retail Investor Survey shows that people who consult a planner tend to be more optimistic about their financial situation than those who don’t. Betterment, with help from research firm Schlesinger Group, surveyed 1,200 respondents March 23-27 and found that 67% of respondents seek advice from a financial advisor. Of those, about seven in 10 said they were optimistic about their prospects for the year, and roughly the same proportion said their outlook was better than it was six months ago.

Still, only 42 percent of those without an advisor said they felt good about 2023. And, fewer than three in 10 said their hopes had improved over the past six months.

Eric Amzalag, a licensed financial planner and owner of Peak Financial Planning in Woodland Hills, Calif., says one of the advantages clients have of working with a professional advisor should be Feel more confident in your financial decisions. He said planners could provide peace of mind not only for investments but also for major purchases.

“A lot of people wonder, ‘Can I buy this thing, or should I buy this thing?'” Amzarag said. “It’s not about the rate of return. You can talk about buying a house, buying a car, taking vacations, weddings.”

Nicholas Bunio, a certified financial planner with Brookstone Wealth Advisors in Wheaton, Illinois, said part of an advisor’s job is to provide reassurance in times of market declines and economic downturns. He agrees that the expertise of planners goes far beyond chasing returns.

“People still want advice on taxation, social security, pensions, estate planning, insurance, family deaths and more,” he said.

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In other good news for the planning industry, respondents view advisors as their most trusted source of financial advice. When asked to rank the trustworthiness of eight different sources of information, 38% of respondents ranked professional wealth managers at the top. The next most trusted sources were friends and family, at 15 percent of respondents, and TV business shows and news at 11 percent.

The results confirm other recent surveys showing that investors continue to have confidence in the expertise and professionalism of financial planners. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the self-regulatory body for the broker-dealer industry, Report released in April The study found that 29 percent of surveyed investors opening their first taxable investment accounts in 2022 cite a financial professional as their primary source of investment information.

Here are some more insights from Betterment’s latest investor survey: