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A new study from Northwestern Mutual highlights the state of financial planning in America and the role of financial advisors in boosting confidence and trust. According to the data, about two-thirds of Americans believe their financial planning is insufficient, with younger adults showing even higher concern. Economic uncertainty has prompted some people to seek or plan to work with financial advisors.

The research demonstrates that individuals who work with financial advisors exhibit higher levels of confidence in various areas, such as being prepared for unexpected expenses, retiring on time, and achieving long-term financial security.

Financial advisors are considered the most trusted source for financial advice, surpassing spouses, family members, business news, friends, and social media. Gen Z and Millennials, despite their significant use of social networks, still prefer financial advisors as their primary trusted source.

How financial advice impacts confidence

Individuals who work with an advisor

Individuals who do not work with an advisor

I have had/will have a successful career



I will have enough money for retirement (retirees)



I can enjoy today without sacrificing happiness in the future



My financial planning incorporates the possibility of unplanned financial or health emergencies



I have achieved/will achieve long-term financial security



I will have enough money to retire when the time comes (non-retirees)



Social Security will be there when I need it






The reasons for seeking financial advice differ between older and younger generations. Older Americans prioritize expertise in advisors, while younger generations value advisors who align with their values, save time, and keep them updated.

When selecting an advisor, respondents prefer someone who understands their life stage priorities and has a proven track record of experience. However, Gen Z and Millennials prioritize working with tech-forward advisors who are demographically similar to them.

Advisors who are members of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) focus first and foremost on client care. They subscribe to a code of ethics and are dedicated and determined to create unique solutions for each client.

"I really believe in customer service and client experience. It has to be more than a transaction—it has to be a relationship.” — Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor and NAIFA-Columbus President Scott Blake, a loyal NAIFA member since 2018

“[Our clients] feel like they have more than just an advisor. [They feel] that they have a friend in us, and we really understand what's going on in their lives.” — Northwestern Mutual Principal and Wealth Management Advisor Michael Case, a loyal NAIFA member since 2013

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