The majority of investors still believe in the American dream but only 36% of non-retired investors have a written financial plan to help them achieve their goals.

“While the number of people with written plans is slowly trending higher, it’s still less than half of investors. It is critical to have a financial plan in place that spans life’s major milestones in order to reach your financial goals,” says Mary Mack, president of Wells Fargo Advisors.

Eighty-four percent of investors are as confident today as they were last year that the American dream is achievable for them, according to Wells Fargo’s most recent U.S. investor confidence survey. That means living comfortably in retirement, affording a home and having meaningful employment.

Also see: How 401(k) participants can avoid sabotaging their returns

Of the 1,005 U.S. investors surveyed in May 2015, 69% said they have a specific financial plan to reach their retirement and investment goals. Of the investors who say they have a written financial plan, 74% say they developed the plan with the help of an investment adviser.

Of those retired investors, only 73% said they have a plan and only 43% said they have a written plan. Retired investors were more likely to say they stick with their plan than non-retirees.

Investors believe that online financial tools are just as important to them as having a relationship with a personal financial adviser. But when they were asked to rank which resource was higher in their estimation, 50% said the advice of a personal financial adviser, followed by having access to state-of-the-art online or digital investing tools and on-call access to a financial adviser.

“Technology is constantly evolving and changing how investors want to interact with their financial services firm. Through this data, investors are telling us they truly value a personal relationship with an adviser, who also uses technology in a collaborative way,” says Mack.

Also see: Despite go-to status, TDFs remain an investment mystery to employees

Investors have five major concerns when it comes to their finances. The biggest one is identity theft and cyber-attacks on their savings or investment accounts. About four in 10 are worried about stock market volatility and investment scams or frauds and 32% are worried about financial abuse or exploitation of older family members or close friends, Wells Fargo found.

One-third of investors said they know someone who has been the victim of investment scams or financial abuse targeted at the elderly. Almost half of investors are very or somewhat likely to rely on a personal financial adviser to protect them or a family member from elder abuse in the future.

“Over the past three years, we’ve been seeing reports of such abuse coming in from our advisers and, unfortunately, we expect to see that growth continue as our population ages. Financial firms must take an active role in raising awareness and preventing elder fraud and financial abuse, including expanded training and guidance for clients,” says Mack.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index polled more than 1,000 investors across the country. Investors in the study were adults in a household with total savings and investments of $10,000 or more.

Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit News becomes archived within a week of it being published

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access