Workers with a small amount of savings don’t always feel comfortable getting professional investment help. Some people say they need to accumulate a significant nest egg before it’s appropriate to meet with a financial adviser.
Most Americans don’t consult with a financial planner. Only a quarter of employees and just over a third of retirees say they use an adviser who provides them with financial advice, guidance, or products for a fee or commission, according to a Harris Interactive survey of 1,134 employees at small and mid-sized companies and 523 retirees commissioned by Principal Financial Group. These workers generally meet with their advisers to establish goals for financial security (60 percent) and to create a plan to achieve those objectives (52 percent), the survey found.
Wealthier households are the most likely to have a professional money manager. Employees in households with $125,000 to $199,999 in yearly income are significantly more likely to use a financial adviser (44 percent) than households earning $74,999 or less annually (between 16 and 18 percent). And only about a quarter (27 percent) of those earning between $75,000 and $124,999 get professional financial planning advice.
Some retirement savers don’t use a financial adviser because they don’t think they have enough savings or investments to necessitate professional help (27 percent) and don’t want to pay a fee (20 percent). When asked how much they would need in order to feel comfortable meeting with an adviser for financial advice or guidance, 38 percent of the respondents say they are not sure. The most popular monetary threshold for meeting with a financial planning professional was $100,000 or more (27 percent). Only small numbers of people say they would feel comfortable meeting with a financial adviser if they had between $50,000 and $99,999 (13 percent), $10,000 and $49,999 (12 percent), or less than $10,000 (7 percent). Just 4 percent of employees say no specific amount of saving or investments is necessary to meet with a financial planner.
Some investors are also skeptical of the financial planning industry. A few of the survey respondents say they chose to go without a money manager because they don’t trust financial professionals (14 percent) and know enough about investing to manage their own finances (7 percent). Some people are also unwilling to invest the time necessary to find a financial adviser they can relate to.