MDRT Study: Successful Financial Planning Contingent on Personal Connections

Personal connections deepen trust
Most Americans (87 percent) have at least some trust in financial professionals and 53 percent have a moderate amount or great deal of trust. When asked what would make an advisor more trustworthy to them, more than half (56 percent) of consumers cite communication on a personal level. Others look at professional credentials, like years of work experience (54 percent) and membership in industry associations (35 percent).

A financial professional’s gender and age are generally less important. The majority (82 percent) have no gender preference if they were to hire a financial professional, and only 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) would prefer an older financial professional.

For some, a dedication to social responsibility and contributions to local communities is important. About one in four millennials (ages 18-34; 26 percent) are more inclined to trust professionals who volunteer and are involved at the local level, more so than those age 45 and above (14 percent).

“Consumers should seek advisors who match their personal values and preferences for communication style, experience level and association involvement,” said James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, MDRT President. “These factors will help develop a long-term professional and personal connection to set yourself up for success.”

Of those with an advisor, 63 percent have been working together for five years or more. Roughly one in four (26 percent) for five to nine years, 13 percent for 10-14 years and 24 percent for 15 years or more.

More than half plan with a purpose
Overall, about three in five Americans who currently work with a financial professional (62%) say they do so to set realistic financial goals for themselves. Additionally, 56 percent work with a professional to set up a comprehensive plan and steps to achieve personal financial goals. The study revealed 77 percent of those currently working with a professional are confident in their finances as a result of working with a financial professional.

For millennials who work with a financial professional, the aim is to set realistic financial goals (70 percent) and set realistic personal savings goals, like saving for homes, cars or vacations (64 percent). Additionally, roughly half of millennials work with a financial professional in hopes of developing an all-inclusive plan to reach their goals (52 percent) and to better understand complicated financial matters (50 percent).

For a high-resolution infographic that explores the worth of paying for financial service professionals, please contact Mary Pattara at  

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of MDRT from August 17-21, 2017 among 2,065 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 754 currently work with a financial advisor, 263 are millennials (18-34) who don’t work with a financial professional, and 106 are millennials (18-34) who currently work with a financial professional.. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Tori Unger.

About MDRT
Founded in 1927, Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®, is a global, independent association of more than 62,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 69 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business. For more information, please visit and follow them on Twitter @MDRtweet.

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SOURCE Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)

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