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Study: 71% of Americans Fear Talking to a Financial Advisor

October 28, 2015

A majority of Americans are scared of speaking with a financial advisor, reveals a recent survey. Many of them think they can’t afford it, but almost as many think there’s no point to it anyway, the survey found.

Almost three quarters (71%) said they fear talking to a financial advisor for one reason or another, according to the online survey of 2,009 Americans 18 and older conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of McAdam, a financial-advice firm. It’s the younger generation that’s most concerned, with 82% of those 18 to 34 saying they’re wary, compared to 63% of those 45 and over, the survey shows. The figure suggests that even those who do speak with advisors are scared of them — according to Society of Actuaries data cited in the survey, 50% of Americans meet with a financial advisor.

Nearly half (49%) of all those polled cited cost concerns. This included 44% of respondents with incomes of $100,000 or more. Phil Simonides, group vice president at McAdam, said this is surprising, considering the “very reasonable costs” of financial advice, particularly compared to other regular expenses.

But 41% of those polled seem to think that a financial advisor would not be able to help them, the survey found, at a time when many are not prepared for retirement. The median 401(k) account stands at only $18,433, according to Employee Benefit Research Institute data cited in the survey.

Further, 47% said they’re wary of sharing their financial information with an advisor, while 38% said they’re afraid an advisor would give them bad news about their financial situation, the survey reveals. Simonides suggests that the only way to deal with fears is to face them — by meeting with a financial advisor.

By Alex Padalka