investor education survey

How Do Americans Perceive Their Financial Knowledge?

2017 Study reveals investment confidence up while interest in education dips

LANSING, Mich., April 7, 2017 /BusinessWire/ — Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®) today issued the results of its 2017 Investor Education Survey, which aimed to gauge Americans’ perception of their current level of financial knowledge, investing acumen and overall confidence in these areas.

A key finding was that more than 58 percent of the 2,772 respondents to the study said they do not feel confident enough to make appropriate investing decisions — a slight improvement over Jackson’s 2016 Investor Education Survey, when 60 percent said the same.

Despite the continued low levels of investing confidence, consumers’ interest in financial and investing education took an unexpected downturn in this year’s survey, with 30 percent of respondents saying they have no interest in this area, up from 26 percent last year.

“It is disheartening to think that Americans may slowly be losing interest in improving their financial knowledge, especially when you consider that most people are not feeling very confident about their current levels of investing confidence,” said Dan Martin, director of digital communications and strategy for Jackson. “Rather than view this as an irreversible trend, however, I see it as a tremendous opportunity for the financial services industry to find new ways to inspire, engage and empower investors to take charge of their financial future. It is also important to keep in mind that nearly 70 percent of our respondents did express interest in financial education.”

Trust and Transparency

Another trend reflected in this year’s results — and which was also captured in the 2016 study — is investors’ demand for trust and transparency when it comes to their financial/investing situation.

In terms of the attributes investors consider most important when looking for an advisor, 48 percent chose “honesty,” with the next-highest percentage choosing “level of financial and investment knowledge” (26 percent).

When asked what would make the biggest difference in their financial outlook, 28 percent of respondents said “having a financial professional who really ‘gets’ me” — the highest percentage in both the 2017 and 2016 surveys.
Other key findings from the 2017 Jackson Investor Education Survey include:

  • 42.71 percent of respondents prefer to receive financial/investing education primarily from their advisor, while 31.20 percent use web-based resources to obtain the information they need.
  • 47.44 percent of respondents rate “saving enough money for retirement” as their top financial concern down from
  • 56.66 percent in 2016, but still the highest percentage out of all responses.

While “having a human financial professional who really ‘gets me’” again garnered the highest percentage of responses this year (28.46 percent), 25.69 percent of investors said “having easier-to- understand and more transparent investment products and literature from companies to help ‘do-it-yourselfers’ like me” would have the biggest positive impact on their financial outlook.

It is disheartening to think that Americans may slowly be losing interest in improving their financial knowledge, especially when you consider that most people are not feeling very confident about their current levels of investing confidence.

The advisor relationship

The 2017 survey explored a new angle — comparing responses from individuals who are currently being advised by a financial professional with those who are not in an advisor relationship. The results revealed some notable disparities between the two groups, particularly on the topic of financial knowledge and confidence.

Nearly 35 percent of individuals who work with a financial professional expressed a complete lack of interest in taking ownership of their financial/investing education, citing “that’s what my advisor is for” as the reason.

“It is clear investors are turning to their advisors for education, since helping clients build their financial knowledge is an increasingly important value proposition for financial professionals. However, this finding could also be cause for alarm — are investors relying so heavily on their advisor that they no longer find it necessary to seek that knowledge for themselves?” said Emilio Pardo, SVP, chief marketing and communications officer for Jackson. “If we are to make a positive impact on our mission to raise the overall level of financial knowledge and confidence in the U.S., we are going to have to make a commitment to helping consumers take those critical steps from interest to curiosity to action.”

The 2017 Jackson Investor Education Survey gauges the opinions of non-retired U.S. investors with more than $75,000 in investable assets on key topics relating to retirement and investing/financial education, knowledge and confidence. The survey is published by the Center for Financial Insight, Jackson’s online resource designed to raise the overall level of financial education and confidence in the U.S. by providing useful content framed in a way that is relevant, consumable and engaging for the modern investor. Visit the Center’s website for complete survey results and comprehensive analysis of the 2017 Jackson Investor Education Survey and the 2016 Jackson Investor Education Survey, the sources for all data referenced in this news release.




About Jackson
Jackson is a leading provider of retirement products for industry professionals and their clients. The company offers a diverse range of products including variable, fixed and fixed index annuities designed for tax-efficient accumulation and distribution of retirement income for retail customers, and fixed income products for institutional investors.
Jackson subsidiaries and affiliates provide specialized asset management and retail brokerage services. With $236.9 billion in IFRS assets*, Jackson prides itself on product innovation, sound corporate risk management practices and strategic technology initiatives. Focused on thought leadership and education, the company develops proprietary research, industry insights and financial representative training on retirement planning and alternative investment strategies. Jackson is also dedicated to corporate social responsibility and supports charities focused on helping children and seniors in the communities where its employees live and work. For more information, visit here.