People who work with a financial advisor feel more confident about many aspects of their lives than people who don’t work with an advisor.
If you’re not working with an advisor, you may be more ready to start than you think.
Northwestern Mutual financial advisors can help you plan for future goals while also preparing you for risks that could get in the way.
of Americans say financial uncertainty keeps them up at night at least once a month.
There’s good news when it comes to how Americans feel about things like friendships, mental health and even physical health. A new survey from Northwestern Mutual finds about three-quarters of Americans feel strongly or very strongly about these areas of their lives. When it comes to finances, however, fewer than 60 percent feel confident.
Perhaps not surprisingly, working with a financial advisor can make a big difference in your financial confidence. Three-quarters of people in the survey who are working with an advisor report feeling confident about their finances. The number drops to 47 percent when it comes to people who don’t work with an advisor.
People who work with a financial advisor are more confident in general
What may be more surprising is that people who work with an advisor and define themselves as disciplined planners also feel better about other non-financial aspects of their lives, like their friendships, health and jobs, than those who don’t.
“Finances are just one part of people’s lives, but they can have a real impact on overall wellness—especially if they are not sure if they are making sound financial decisions,” says Tim Gerend, chief distribution officer at Northwestern Mutual. “Just as building healthy habits can lead to better physical and mental health, remaining disciplined in financial behaviors can help improve people’s financial wellness.”
The data is clear: People who work with an advisor and plan financially don’t just feel more confident about their money; they feel better overall. Despite that, only 37 percent of Americans work with a financial advisor. It can be easy to think that you’re not ready to work with an advisor for a variety of reasons. But the reality is that many perceived obstacles—like not having enough money or having too much debt—are exactly the reasons why you should work with an advisor.
What it’s like to work with a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor
We have advisors who work across all income levels. Whether you’re just starting out or have millions in net worth, we have advisors who work with people like you.
A Northwestern Mutual financial advisor will get to know you, asking questions about not only your financial situation but also what’s important to you in life. Your advisor will build a snapshot of where you are today and where you want to be (both now and in the future). He or she will then show you a plan for how to get there. The plan will anticipate potential roadblocks along the way while also including strategies to grow your wealth for big goals in the future, such as retirement.
Your plan will include things like:
1. Cash flow
This is a snapshot of how you’re spending your money today. And it can help you balance what’s truly important today along with what’s needed for future goals.
2. Debt management
Debt is a reality for most of us. Many people don’t realize that it can be a great tool if managed properly. But it’s an important consideration for financial planning. An advisor can educate you about strategies to manage and pay down debt.
3. Risk planning
This is a foundational element of financial planning that a lot of financial advisors gloss over or miss entirely. With our company’s background in insurance, we know the critical importance of protecting your income and loved ones. We’ll talk about common risks and financial tools to help you plan for them. Our advisors can also educate you about the flexibility of permanent life insurance and how it can help you manage risk while also working in conjunction with your investments to help you build wealth over time.
4. Growing your wealth
Investments are the thing most people think of when they think about financial planning. They’re a key element of any plan, and we include investment solutions for growth in our plans. But a key strength of Northwestern Mutual is that we don’t focus solely on investments. In fact, using additional financial tools (like life insurance) has been shown to lead to better outcomes in retirement than does an approach that uses investments alone.
5. Estate planning
Estate planning is often confused as something for people who have a lot of money. While the strategies in an estate plan get more complex as your wealth grows, most people should have a basic estate plan in place. An estate plan helps ensure that your wishes for yourself, your family and your assets—such as who would get custody of your kids if something were to happen to you—are carried out in the event of your illness or death.
Quiz: Is Financial Planning Right for Me?
About The 2023 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study
The 2023 Planning & Progress Study was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual among 2,740 U.S. adults aged 18 or older. The survey was conducted online between February 13 and March 2, 2023. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, household income, and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. A complete survey methodology is available.