Canadians say financial advice improves well-being

Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:36pm EDT

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* Those who received comprehensive advice most optimistic

* Study eliminates net worth as an influencing variable

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, June 15 (Reuters) - Canadians who receive comprehensive financial advice rate their emotional and financial well being higher -- often significantly so -- than those who do not receive advice, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The Value of Financial Planning Study, conducted by polling firm the Strategic Council on behalf of the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC), asked a series of questions online to 7,383 English-speaking Canadians between August 2009 and January 2010.

The respondents were broken up into three groups: those who had received comprehensive financial planning from an adviser, those with limited financial advice, and those that had not received advice.

It also separated the groups into different net-worth categories to eliminate net worth as a variable when evaluating the impact of financial planning.

"Overall, the survey's results indicate that the benefits of financial planning are much more than simply the accumulation of wealth," said Cary List, president and chief executive of FPSC, when presenting the study at the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners annual conference.

"Those individuals who receive comprehensive, integrated planning have a significantly more optimistic outlook on their emotional and financial well-being compared to those who don't."

"They feel better prepared to deal with financial emergencies and manage through difficult economic times, they are more confident in reaching a wider spectrum of key life goals, and...they have a better understanding of their financial needs and thus are more confident in this regard."

EMOTIONAL WELL BEING

When asked to respond to the statement, "I feel I barely get by every month", 30 percent of those who had received comprehensive advice agreed.

Comprehensive advice was defined as being given by an adviser who provides financial planning for major life goals and events in at least three of the following areas: household budgeting, tax, retirement, estate planning, investing, debt, and risk management.

Of those who received limited financial advice, 39 percent agreed with the statement. Limited financial advice was defined as advice in just one or two of the same areas as the comprehensive group.

Among those with no financial advice -- including "do it yourselfers" -- the number of those who agreed with the statement jumped to 57 percent.

To the statement "I worry a lot about my financial situation," 44 percent of the comprehensive group agreed, 49 percent of the limited group agreed, and 60 percent of the "no planning group agreed.

Some other statements and responses included:

- I have a hard time achieving my goals.

Comprehensive, 30 percent agreed; limited, 34 percent; none, 44 percent.

-If anything should happen to me the people I care about would be looked after.

Comprehensive, 72 percent agreed; limited, 60 percent; none, 38 percent.

- I am on track to reach my desired lifestyle in retirement.

Comprehensive, 51 percent agreed; limited, 33 percent; no planning, 18 percent.

-I am content with the way my life is going.

Comprehensive, 62 percent agreed; limited, 51 percent; no planning, 37 percent.

- I have peace of mind.

Comprehensive, 61 percent agreed; limited, 48 percent; no planning, 36 percent.

- Retiring in the lifestyle you want to.

Comprehensive, 43 percent said they were close; limited, 30 percent; no planning, 16 percent.

- Not having to worry about money.

Comprehensive, 45 percent said they were close; limited, 33 percent; no planning, 16 percent.

- Making sure there is enough money for post secondary education for you children.

Comprehensive, 53 percent said they were close; limited, 38 percent; no planning, 19 percent.

($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway)

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