When you look at what holds us back from getting expert advice on money matters, it's not just that the system needs fixing - it's also about us. How we feel about our finances plays a big part.
Let's assume for a moment that there's good guidance from experts out there to be had (there is), and that people need help with their planning (we do). So, how best to fix the system and match these up?
The government has been looking at overhauling the rules on how we get financial advice, and this week is the last chance to have your say through this short survey they've put out. (It took me all of five minutes to fill in.) All ideas on how to make things better are welcome!
When more than 1,750 users of the Sorted website responded to the call to find out why they skipped talking to the experts, their feedback was quite insightful, and in some cases colourful to say the least.
"I don't trust financial advisers."
"How do I know I can trust their advice?"
"I would be sceptical about their advice!"
"Don't trust them; my parents lost a lot through a financial adviser."
"I'm not sure I would trust them - would do so if was recommended."
"I am happy to pay for advice, but I don't know what is reasonable, and I don't know who is good, who to trust."
"Most 'advisers' are salespeople who want to get you into some kind of Ponzi scheme (probably not, really, but that's the impression they give)."
That last one is a little harsh, but you can see what I mean when I say this is as much about our attitudes (and hearsay) as it is about advisers and the system.
Top 5 reasons we avoid advice:
1. We'd rather DIY. "I'm not convinced they can give me better advice than I can find out for myself."
2. We think advisers are only for the super-rich. "I assumed they were for rich people or businesses." "I don't have enough money to bother with decisions about what to do with it."
3. We don't know where to begin."They don't seem accessible or approachable - completely intimidating if you have never had one." "I am unsure what result I would get out of it."
4. We've got trust issues."I'm concerned they would direct me to organisations that would benefit them rather than me."
5. We don't think it's worth it."I would pay for advice if it wasn't so expensive. The cost makes me hesitate."
We can also bequite self-consciousabout our financial situations.
"I'm anxious about what they will say to me. Will they tell me I'm a bad person?"
"I feel very inadequate about this area of my life and somewhat embarrassed."
"I feel too financially small to require one."
We all deserve a better way to get guidance on our money matters. Here's that survey link again for you to pitch in your perspective on how to make that happen.
Good advice is like gold.
Hopefully someday we'll be confident of finding it, in a transparent way that suits all our needs.