Aussies don’t seek financial advice on major financial matters, are dissatisfied with their wealth: MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey

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Fewer than three in ten Australians have sought any kind of advice on key money matters in the past two years, and most are unsatisfied with their wealth, according to the latest research from MLC.

The Q4 2016 MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey released today found that over 70 per cent of respondents have received no guidance on savings, investments, superannuation, retirement or tax planning over the past two years. 90 per cent had not received advice on financing their children’s education despite fast-rising school fees and expenses.

“The decisions we make about our money affect us every day of our lives, and they really impact our happiness, so we need those decisions to be good ones that are based on our unique circumstances and goals,” NAB Executive General Manager of Wealth Advice, Greg Miller, said.

“While some people are well-equipped to go it alone, money matters are complex for some but critical for everybody, and over time the decisions you make can have huge implications.”

Aussies unsatisfied with levels of wealth

Lack of financial guidance may be affecting the satisfaction of Australians when it comes to their wealth. Asked to rate their satisfaction with their wealth out of ten, respondents rated their income at four, net worth at 4.1, and lifestyle at 4.7.

Men were slightly more satisfied than women, and satisfaction levels were higher across all aspects of wealth as income increases.

Professional financial advice rates highly

The good news for those who have sought financial advice is that they rate it highly. Just under three in ten Australians had sought some sort of financial advice, including guidance from a financial planner or accountant, friends or family, or from digital channels.

Advice from a professional rated most highly, with 82 per cent of those who used a financial planner rating the advice as ‘good’ to ‘excellent’. Respondents said they rated the financial planning advice they received favourably because it was tailored to their specific needs, the planner identified and understood their investing purposes and goals, and because the planner looked at risk and ways to minimise it.

“What we tend to see is that people are busy and are overwhelmed by all the financial decisions they have to make – ‘Do I invest and where? How do I prepare for retirement? Can I afford a private school for my kids?’. In the end, they often don’t end up doing much at all, or doing what’s easiest, which may not be the best course of action,” Mr Miller said.

“It’s natural that having a professional do the legwork and guiding you through such an important part of life takes a lot of the stress away.”

Key findings from the Q4 2017 MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey

Financial advice:

  • More than 7 out of 10 Australians have not received any financial advice over the past two years.
  • When Australians do access advice, they generally rate it favourably, especially when it comes from a professional (financial planner or accountant).
  • When it came to using a financial planner, they rated the advice positively mainly because it was tailored to their specific needs, they recognised and understood their investment goals, and they looked at ways to minimise risk.

Retirement:

  • Around 1 in 2 Australians don’t think they’ll have enough to retire on.
  • 55% of women compared with 48% of men do not believe they will have enough money in retirement.

Wealth goals:

  • 9 out of 10 Australians don’t consider themselves ‘wealthy’.
  • Australians do not report being satisfied with their wealth – rating their satisfaction between 4.1 and 4.7 out of 10 across lifestyle, net worth, and income.
  • Almost 1 in 2 Australians don’t think they’ve done enough to reach their wealth goals.

Some of the complex and critical financial issues facing Australians today:

  • aged care
  • two generations in retirement
  • children living at home longer and entering the work force later
  • paying down mortgages and using that income to fund building wealth
  • investment properties
  • managing debt
  • cash flow and budgeting
  • insurance

For the full reports, please click the links below:

Special Report – Financial Advice (April 2017)

Wealth Sentiment Survey Q4 2016

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