Surprise! A polarized electorate disagrees about the future of Social Security, prescription drugs and medical marijuana. But voters of all stripes trust personal financial advisors by overwhelming margins, a new survey has found.
Perhaps a financial advisor should run for office.
Among Democrats, Republicans and independents, 95 percent of respondents in each political segment trusted financial advisors “a great deal” or “somewhat.” That's according to the Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D) Survey, sponsored by Lincoln Financial Group.
The M.O.O.D. findings come as a “pretty surprising statistic” in a presidential election that is about to get even more divisive, said Jamie Ohl, president of Retirement Plan Services for Lincoln Financial Group.
The survey also reinforced previous findings that respondents of all political persuasions feel confident about reaching their goals when they have a financial plan drawn up by an advisor. The survey also reinforced the belief that financial planning is a nonpartisan issue.
It is widely known that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are divided over the future of the Affordable Care Act. But they have said little about employer-based retirement plans. The presidential candidates also have failed to say how they would make it easier or more affordable for Americans to buy financial protection products, especially in light of how many Americans are underinsured.
Democrats, Republicans in Lockstep on Planning
Democrats and Republicans are in lockstep when it comes to falling short on financial planning, the M.O.O.D. Survey found.
Only 26 percent of Democrats said they believe they are managing retirement planning very well and only 25 percent of Republicans believe that is the case for them, the survey found.
Only 27 percent of Democrats said they are planning for their family’s future very well compared with 33 percent of Republicans, the survey also found.
If respondents of both parties agree they are falling short on the retirement planning front, 92 percent of Democrats and 92 percent of Republicans strongly agree or somewhat agree that they want to save enough during their working lives so that they do not have to work in retirement.
In addition, 86 percent of Democrats said their own personal lives are headed in the right direction and 84 percent of Republicans believe that is also the case. “I thought this was refreshing, frankly,” Ohl told InsuranceNewsNet.
The fact that respondents are falling short in their financial planning yet are optimistic about their personal financial lives are seemingly contradictory. But how are those answers connected?
“The connection between optimism and falling short comes from barriers standing in the way,” Ohl said.
Outlays for day-to-day expenses, student debt and child care make it difficult to set aside money for retirement, the survey found.
Democrats, Republicans in Lockstep on Barriers
If Democrats and Republicans agree that they aren’t doing a good job of retirement planning, they also agree that they face similar barriers to financial planning, the survey found.
“Their ultimate goals are the same but, on top of that, the barriers that we face are extraordinarily similar,” said Bernard Whitman, CEO of Whitman Insight Strategies, which conducted the survey on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group.
Among Democrats, 64 percent strongly or somewhat agreed that the payments they make now make it hard to plan or save for the future, compared with 61 percent of Republicans who reported that was the case.
In addition, the survey found that 68 percent of Democrats strongly or somewhat agree that trying to understand their retirement plan options can be an overwhelming process, compared with 70 percent of Republicans who said so.
And when it comes to trying to understand options for insurance coverage, 64 percent of Democrats reported it could be an overwhelming process compared with 62 percent of Republicans, the survey found.
Employer-based programs are beginning to shift from an accumulation focus to a distribution focus, or “income outcomes.” The goal is to illustrate how people will be paid and the amount of retirement income employees they can expect from their defined contribution plans.
“We’ve not made retirement planning easy, it’s still a complicated process,” Ohl said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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