Financial Planning Games: Financial Advisors Compete Head-to-head with Planning Websites

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My firm’s CEO, Melissa Sauter, lives by the motto, “fail to plan, plan to fail,” and encourages her employees to do so as well. Based on life’s often harsh lessons around preparation, “fail to plan, plan to fail” seems to resonate with most people, including affluent investors, as more than half (58%) report having a financial plan and another one in five (19%) is currently working on one.

However, 17% of investors with at least $100,000 in investable assets admit to not having started to make a financial plan, including about one in five investors ages 54 to 62, arguably beyond the ideal time to already have a financial plan in place.

Financial planning is the act of creating a plan where you establish a set of goals in your life and figure out how much money it will take to achieve them. This involves saving money, investing, and getting insurance to protect you and your loved ones. It also includes having legal documents created in the event of an emergency so that your family is prepared.

Affluent Investor Financial Planning

Investors use a number of resources in their financial planning process. Among investors with completed financial plans as well as those still working on their financial strategy, the top three resources cited include financial advisors, certified financial planners and financial planning websites. However, compared with investors currently working on a strategy, those who already have a financial plan are more likely to cite having worked with financial advisors and certified financial planners. In contrast, investors who are still in the planning process are more likely than those with established plans to be using websites, a financial professional through their employer, financial media sites and social media as resources.

Affluent Investor Financial Planning Resources Used

While financial planning websites are rivaling financial advisors as the top resource for affluent investors still in the financial planning process, helpfulness ratings of these digital solutions are not very strong. Opportunities exist for providers offering financial planning websites to improve virtual offerings to target investors who have yet to formalize a financial plan as well as those who have not yet started. Concurrently, firms should align themselves with financial advisors in executing the plans of investors who are relying on them.

For more on Investor Brand Builder, review an overview of the report.


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Julia Johnston-Ketterer

About Julia Johnston-Ketterer

Julia Johnston-Ketterer is a senior director in the Syndicated Research division. She has more than 15 years of experience leading research initiatives on the client- and supply-sides of the financial services industry focusing on investors, advisors and broker-dealers. Prior to joining Market Strategies, Julia was vice president of business development for Market Probe, Inc. and research associate for Richard Day Research, where she managed financial services clients and conducted client satisfaction studies and PR research programs. Julia also spent ten years at Fidelity Investments. While there, she built a research team that provided primary and secondary research to internal marketing and communications partners. Julia earned an MBA in finance and communications from Simmons School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in French and international relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While she can claim having twice bungee-jumped in New Zealand, Julia’s current adventures outside of work include being a hockey mom, taking hikes with her dog and planning her next family beach vacation.

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