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Financial Advice Survey Results

Read the highlights of the YBS commissioned survey on modern attitudes to financial advice

9 June 2014

Long-term financial advice: Where can you turn?

Making a final decision on long-term financial plans can be incredibly difficult, especially when there is potentially a lot at stake. If we are saving for early retirement, a wedding or a child’s education, we all want to reduce the element of risk as much as possible to ensure we don’t end up with  insufficient funds. It is clearly important we are seeking sound, financial advice when making a decision on such matters.

Online Refuge

In April Yorkshire Building Society and OnePoll carried out a survey amongst 2,000 U.K. adults to try and understand modern attitudes towards long-term financial planning. The results make interesting reading:

  • The internet was considered the no.1 resource for researching and discussing financial matters
  • 64% of respondents turn to online forums in order to obtain the relevant information
  • Women are 10% more likely to use online forums to research financial planning

Nevertheless, face to face discussions are still important to many respondents:

  • Just over half of respondents are happy to book an appointment with a financial institution
  • 47% of participants said that they would be willing to seek advice from family members
  • 31% opted to confide in a friend

Advice - who is it for?

In 2013, a number of financial organisations withdrew from providing financial advice or introduced minimum criteria, leaving many potential customers having to seek help elsewhere. Yorkshire Building Society took a different approach, teaming up with Legal & General to offer no-obligation advice to everyone, regardless of their financial status.

Interestingly, the survey showed that there are differing opinions over how much money respondents think they need to benefit from financial advice, suggesting that the change in some organisations’ approach may be affecting people’s attitudes.

  • 20% thought that £5,000 or less was appropriate
  • 44% of respondents believed they had to set aside more than £10,000
  • 12% thought more than £30,000 would be needed to benefit

Trust

Having sufficient funds to benefit from financial advice was a concern of many respondents but by far the biggest concern was finding someone they can trust, 63% saying that this was the biggest hurdle. Other responses included:  

  • Understanding the costs and benefits compared to traditional deposit based savings (30%)
  • Being able to afford financial advice (26%)
  • Finding an advisor interested in smaller sums (22%)

Awareness

With deposit account interest rates so low, the potential effects of inflation eroding the real value of savings over time is an issue for many savers but a quarter of respondents weren’t aware of the problem.  Even so, seemingly many who are aware don’t tend to shop around for the best rate, with 30% of all respondents doing this once a year or less and 28% not bothering at all.

These results seem to suggest that many people are not seeking professional financial advice, with trust and having insufficient funds both cited as hurdles. If the resources currently being used to gain information are unreliable or unbalanced, it could be difficult to make informed decisions on our finances and this could prove costly in the end.

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