Why Individuals Might Not Turn to Financial Professionals for Guidance

Who do most people turn to for trusted financial advice? While a financial advisor might seem like the obvious choice, it’s not always the answer. 

According to a recent survey from the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), only one in three (33.4%) respondents turn to financial professionals with their questions on finances. Most (40.8%) ask parents, family, friends or coworkers, and a concerning one in four (25.8%) say they don’t have anyone to turn to for trusted financial advice.1 

Some might suggest these findings are indicative of a stigma that has long plagued the financial services industry. Namely, some individuals may assume that financial advisors are only motivated by money and driven by greed. Hence, they turn to others or to no one at all. Most advisors would agree that these assumptions are far from accurate, and that their greatest satisfaction comes from seeing others enjoy financial freedom.

But could some people’s avoidance stem from a different kind of stigma? Could it be they believe they don’t have enough money to warrant the guidance available from a professional advisor, or that an advisor may not be interested in helping because of their lack of assets? 

Another NFEC survey might provide some insight. It found that only 17.9% of respondents had between three and six months of emergency savings, while an astonishing four in 10 (39.7%) had two or fewer months’ worth of savings to tap into in case of an emergency.2 Add those numbers up and they’re nearly equal to the aforementioned number of individuals who don’t seek the advice of a professional financial advisor.

Might there be a correlation?

A misperception that someone needs to be worth six figures or millions of dollars to work with an advisor may be a hindrance for those who live paycheck to paycheck. Paying a portion of their hard-earned money to a financial advisor may seem unrealistic to those who struggle to make ends meet.

This dilemma presents a potential Catch-22. Those who feel they don’t have enough money to work with a financial advisor may miss out on opportunities to earn more money (which might finally provide enough to work with a financial advisor)! 

It’s a conundrum that may be difficult to overcome, but there are steps that advisors can take to help engage potential investors and move them closer to a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Tips to Engage Reluctant Investors

It’s understood that some financial advisors may have a minimum threshold of investable assets that call for their services. Others, however, may work inside financial institutions like credit unions or banks and offer their services to investors with limited assets. In either regard, building trust and finding ways to engage potential clients is the key to growing a book of business and growing clients’ financial acuity.

Overcome Stereotypes

Overcoming stereotypes begins with openness and honesty. Be transparent about any fee structures and your personal approach to providing financial services. Also be forthright about potential forecasts, market volatility or missed opportunities. These types of conversations aren’t always easy, but they serve as building blocks to forming deeper relationships and greater client confidence. 

When it comes to communication, remember that consistency is key. Determine a cadence for your engagement and stick with it. Inconsistency does little to garner trust.

Avoid Financial Jargon

Large cap funds, fiduciaries, consumer price index, bond markets… Newer investors may have a hard time keeping up with advisors who’ve become accustomed to “insider” terminology. It will likely do little to impress or help a potential client who is considering your services. Breaking down abstract concepts into plain English and inviting a “no question is dumb” atmosphere can do a lot to put someone at ease and engender trust. 

Expand Your Social Reach

No matter your personal feelings about social media, there’s no question that social platforms are where many consumers get their information. It’s also well known that much of that information may not be reputable. Building a social presence and providing a voice of reason, truth and practicality among the throngs of online disinformation can do a lot to boost your reputation as a trustworthy financial advocate and attract prospective clients.

RELATED: View “Setting Your Social Strategy” Acceleration Resources

Offer Relevant Education

There are numerous ways that advisors can reach out to investors. In addition to traditional emails and newsletters, consider hosting webinars and virtual meetings, or producing short and simple videos that cover a relevant topic in the news and its impact. Post blogs or articles on your website, or simply share helpful third-party articles on your social channels that offer practical advice. Remember, however, to always check with your compliance department for any rules surrounding social engagement and other communication methods.

It’s notable that some advisors may not have the time or resources to develop helpful educational materials. Thankfully, most financial institutions do. Leverage the content and educational resources offered by the companies you work with. 

For example, CUNA Mutual Group provides many complimentary educational materials. In particular, our Acceleration® resources feature six modules on relevant topics and trends that can help make a measurable difference in your business results. View these materials by clicking the link below.

Acceleration Resources


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