AAII Survey: The Benefits of a Financial Adviser


Many individuals work with a financial adviser to help them achieve their financial goals.

There are many potential benefits to hiring an investment adviser. They typically have more knowledge of money management than you do, especially when it comes to matters such as investment and taxes.

In addition, a professional opinion can be especially helpful in the retirement planning process when you’re trying to set goals.

Another benefit of hiring a financial adviser is that he or she can save you time. Some of these individuals will manage your portfolio for you instead of you having to devote the time and effort to doing so. While you will need to periodically meet with your adviser to talk about your goals and where your investments stand, you won’t be responsible for things like periodically rebalancing your accounts.

However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Sadly, there are too many stories of financial advisers not acting in their clients’ best interests. That is why it is a good idea that your financial adviser is willing to act as a fiduciary. Fiduciaries are required by law to recommend investments in the client’s best interest, not their own.

Another potential issue with financial advisers is that if you’re not investing much money, even a small fee can significantly cut into your returns. If you don’t have a huge portfolio and are just starting out, you may not be able to afford to hire a financial adviser.

AAII Weekly Survey Question

Many AAII members and readers are self-directed investors who forgo using a financial adviser. To see what benefits our readers see in working with a financial adviser, last week’s survey question asked:

When measuring the value of working with a financial adviser, which of the following is most important to you?

Here are the results:

In all, 1,238 readers participated.

Given that many AAII members and readers are interested in plotting their own financial course, it isn’t surprising that the biggest response was that “there is no value in working with a financial adviser.”

However, a quarter of participants view the biggest value of working with a financial adviser is getting assistance with achieving their financial goals.

Nearly one-fifth (19%) believe that working with a financial adviser helps achieve better investment returns than they would on their own.

Another 14% of readers believe that the knowledge a financial adviser has of their own financial situation is their greatest value.

Eight percent of participants in the weekly survey believe that the peace of mind and sense of security a financial adviser offers is their greatest value.

Weekly Special Question

Moving past the confines of the responses offered in the weekly survey question, last week’s special question asked:

If you work with a financial adviser, what advantages does the relationship offer versus going it alone?

We received 190 responses to the weekly special question.

The biggest single collection of responses to the special question dealt with a financial adviser offering a second opinion or offering an objective alternate opinion.

The second-largest number of responses indicate that an advantage of working with a financial adviser is their depth of knowledge, advice and/or experience.

From here, the grouping of responses becomes more diverse. Those areas that received a greater number of responses include:

  • The continuity of a financial plan after death
  • Helping avoid problems
  • Better access to investment information

Here is a sampling of the responses to the special question:

  • “Depth of knowledge and resources; personal interest in my financial situation and goals.”
  • “Save me time and energy.”
  • “His access to additional financial information and opinions.”
  • “They serve as a sounding board and validator for my ideas and as originators of ideas I may not have thought of.”
  • “Alternative perspectives on securities, sectors, industries, regions, etc. Stimulates retrospection and ultimately lower risk and often more reliable returns. Not necessarily greater returns, but it’s what you have and keep that counts, not what might have been.”
  • “The financial adviser gives me an outside voice of what I’m doing. He may not like or approve of my plan, but his input has helped me.”
  • “The security and peace of mind they give me and my wife, who has no close living relatives, when I die or am incapacitated. They are also useful in advising us on financial matters such as the value of long-term-care insurance and most recently, what FEMA and legal actions we should take on Harvey flooding our house. They are really more than just financial advisers.”
  • “They do more research than I can possibly do on my own. Also more objective.”
  • “My spouse has someone to handle the investments when I die.”

Everybody has an opinion! Why not give us yours? Participate in our weekly member poll, updated every Monday, and see the results online at www.aaii.com/memberquestion.



4 Replies to “AAII Survey: The Benefits of a Financial Adviser”

  1. Pingback: AAII Blog
  2. The first thing I do in looking for a financial advisor is to make sure they are (in order of importance): 1) certified, 2) has college degree in financial field, 3) fiduciary, 4) independent (not affiliated with bank or financial institution), 5) years in business, 6) audited by an independent agency, 7) offers a wide spectrum of services and products, 8) great listener and tailors decisions to clients needs, 9) check out WEB site. 10) Lastly, I ask relatives and friends for any recommendations that meet the above criteria then set up an interview with the prospective advisors.


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