U.S. Investors Seek Professional Advice Relatively Infrequently

According to a September 12th article from Gallup, most American investors are not prone to seek financial advice. In fact, most U.S. investors only seek advice from financial professionals for long-term concerns such as a personal financial plan.

This data for the Gallup article came from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey conducted in June and July of this year. The survey was undertaken with a representative sample of U.S. investors with $10,000 or more in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or self-directed IRAs or 401(k) accounts, and it surveyed whether respondents had sought advice on major financial decisions such as buying a car or creating a college savings plan. More than 82% of U.S. investors had bought a car, but less than 20% of respondents had used professional advice in doing so. Of note, investors were most likely to have sought advice when developing a personal financial plan, with 63% responding they did so, and 74% of these said it was professional, not informal, advice.

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More details on the Wells Fargo/Gallup survey

Nearly 80% of the respondents have some experience with most of the activities in the survey (82% buying a car, 80% planning a major vacation, 77% purchasing a house, and 76% creating a personal financial plan). The only activity that most investors had not done was creating a college savings plan (38%).

Among those with experience with each financial activity, the percentage who have sought some sort of advice varies from 63% for creating a personal financial plan to 28% for buying a car. Around three in 10 respondents have sought advice for planning a major vacation, and 39% have done so for buying a house. Although less than 40% say say they have created a college savings plan, 42% of those who have say they looked for advice when undertaking the decision.

U.S. Investors Professional Advice

Of note, around three-quarters of those who have sought advice for a personal financial plan used professional advice rather than informal advice. Furthermore, more than half of advice-seekers for buying a house and creating a college savings plan chose to consult with a financial professional. The percentage, however, drops significantly for those planning a major vacation — only 23% of those who have sought advice sought it from a professional, and only 19% for buying a car.

Men less likely to ask for help

U.S. Investors Professional Advice

Although both genders claim similar levels of experience with most of the activities, women are a good bit more likely to seek advice in three of them. Interestingly, only 22% of men compared to 35% of women have sought advice when purchasing a car. Women are also more likely than men to seek advice when buying a house and creating a college savings plan.