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Most people know good advice can help them deal with life’s dilemmas, but they often question whether it’s worth spending their hard-earned dollars on it.
When it comes to planning your retirement, however, it seems there are real, measurable benefits from receiving advice – both in terms of your finances and your emotional wellbeing.
To help you understand the benefits, SuperGuide has taken a look at what the latest research says about the value of advice when it comes to your retirement.
1. Your finances: How much can advice help?
When it comes to your retirement finances, several research studies have investigated whether there are measurable benefits from getting professional advice from a financial planner.
According to ongoing research by Morningstar in the US, a good planner can increase your wealth – or save you from losing – about 2%. This added value comes from:
- Creating an adaptable withdrawal strategy
- Allocating more to guaranteed income products
- Utilising your total wealth to build your investment portfolio.
The additional 2% value also comes from your adviser helping you over long time periods to make good decisions in relation to your savings and remaining invested during market volatility. Advice about tax-effective strategies and estate planning also add value.
Vanguard has also estimated the so-called ‘Adviser’s Alpha’ added to a client’s investment return. Its research indicates good financial advice adds approximately 3% in returns (after fees and taxes).
The additional return comes from more than just good investment selection; it’s also derived from behavioural coaching, portfolio construction advice and wealth management. Good advisers can also add value by assisting you with cost-effective asset selection and rebalancing, together with tax-efficient withdrawals and asset liquidation.
If you’re still not convinced, research by Envestnet PMC Quantitative Research Group echoes the Vanguard findings. The US firm’s work also found advisers added value up to 3% annually in enhanced returns.
Added value from financial advice
|Financial planning||>50 bps (0.5%)|
|Asset selection and allocation||52 bps (0.52%)|
|Active management:||67 bps (0.67%)|
|Passive management:||61 bps (0.61%)|
|Systemic rebalancing||30 bps (0.31%)|
|Tax management||100 bps (1%)|
Source: Capital Sigma: The Advisor Advantage, Envestnet PMC, 2019
Is professional financial advice worth the money?
According to those receiving financial advice, it seems the answer is ‘yes’.
A recent study by Fidelity International found more than seven in ten (71%) Australians currently receiving financial advice believe it has generated more value to them than it has cost.
Even those who currently didn’t receive financial advice recognised the potential benefits, with the majority believing advice would give them greater peace of mind financially (64%) or greater control over their financial situation (63%).
2. Your emotional wellbeing: How much can advice help?
Studies indicate personal finance is one of the main sources of stress for Aussies of all ages. The Australian Psychological Society’s annual Stress and Wellbeing in Australia surveys found over a five-year period that personal finance topped the list of worries for 49% of survey participants.
So, how valuable is advice when it comes to non-financial benefits?
For most people, being financially secure brings peace of mind and a positive effect on their emotional wellbeing. The Fidelity study found 49% of Aussies receiving financial advice said their mental health benefited from receiving advice and 38% said their family life had improved.
Do people receive advice about retiring?
Although advice gives people a sense of control over their finances, 54% of recent retirees had not taken part in some form of retirement planning or received advice, according to a 2019 study by Industry Super Australia (ISA).
Even among people who expect to retire in the next two years or so, the ISA report found 17% had no formal financial plan and were waiting until they were closer to retirement.
Among people who had retired due to lack of work opportunities, ill health or needing to care for someone else, 60% had done no planning prior to their retirement.
Can advice lessen your retirement worries?
Getting advice reduces your worries once you are in retirement, according to research by National Seniors Australia (NSA) and Challenger. They found retirees who received advice were less likely to worry frequently about running out of money.
Acting on the advice you receive is also important. People who had received advice but not taken any action, were more likely to worry frequently (25%) and be worried in general (64%).
Was financial advice received in the past 12 months?
Worry frequency for outliving savings and investments
Yes – advice used to make changes
Yes – but advice not acted on yet
Advice not received in previous 12 months
|Used to worry, but not now||15%||10%||11%|
|Do not worry||29%||24%||35%|
|Don’t know/rather not say||2%||1%||2%|
Source: Retirement income worry: Who worries and why?, National Seniors Australia/Challenger, January 2020
Research undertaken by Sunsuper as part of its 2017 Value of Advice Report mirrored these findings. It found consumers believe the value of the financial advice they received extended far beyond monetary benefits.
Study participants believed the advice they received was “worth it” in terms of their lifestyle, financial security and peace of mind:
- 77% believed the advice had helped them feel prepared for retirement
- 72% believed they had a better understanding of what to expect in retirement
- 80% believed advice had given them more peace of mind
- 75% believed the advice they received was worth more than it
Reducing the retirement blues
It seems pre-retirement advice or training programs do more than just make you feel prepared. They also help you adjust to your new lifestyle and to feel more positive about it.
In Michael Longhurst’s book Enjoying Retirement, he points out retirees who seek advice or training before they retired experienced significantly lower levels of depression than those who received none.
Longhurst’s research also found receiving pre-retirement education was associated with significantly more positive attitudes to life and greater retirement satisfaction.