Do Financial Advisers Make Any Difference for Their Clients?
Well, according to a recent survey by John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (as reported by the American Retirement Association) there is "an impressive retirement preparations gap among those who use the services of a financial advisor"(sic) and those who do not.
Here are some stats:
- Regarding 401(k)s, those with advisers were more than twice as likely to be saving the maximum (28% vs. 13%) as those without advisers.
- Those with advisers were more than twice as likely to be ahead or on track in retirement savings (70% vs. 33%).
- And the same for those who knew how much they needed to save to be on track: 33% vs. 14%.
- And yet again with saving for emergencies: 58% with an adviser had emergency funds. Only 26% of those without advisers did.
The sample size was a very statistically valid 2000.
I take these results with a grain of salt, mostly because they are what I would like to hear. Based on my own clients, those who are doing well are more likely to seek, and follow, my advice. So it's possible the same is true of the 2000 folks studied by Hancock: They already suspected they were doing OK but just wanted to be sure that was true, and, to avoid any mistakes. That is the most often repeated explanation when I ask new clients why they came to see me. So I don't think we advisers can take all the credit for the better results our clients achieve.