NEW YORK, N.Y., April 3, 2017 – The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) just released a new set of findings from The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™, which reveals that financial representatives can offer one of the most important relationships in helping clients achieve financial confidence and subsequently advancing overall life satisfaction. Findings from the study also indicate that it's not just financial guidance and education that makes for a great financial representative; those who consistently demonstrate good listening skills, are deemed trustworthy, and demonstrate integrity earn the highest ratings of satisfaction from their clients.
The study finds that 71 percent of consumer participants ranked as the most financially confident (Confident Planners) are “very satisfied” with their financial representative versus 40 percent of their less confident counterparts (Ambitious Spenders). These Ambitious Spenders have an average household income of $144,000, but placed a below average emphasis on working with a financial representative. Surprisingly, Confident Planners had only a slightly higher household income at $145,000, yet placed a much greater emphasis on working with a financial representative they trust.
“These findings support what we have seen in practice, that human relationships matter and representatives who establish a deeper emotional connection with their clients have more satisfied and confident clients,” said Matthew Bryan, Assistant Vice President at Guardian. “Even in this age of financial apps and robo- advisors, the client-representative connection is a critical aspect of achieving financial confidence. Representatives can use these findings to better address what drives financial and emotional confidence for their own clients, ultimately improving their client relationships.”
Life satisfaction and financial confidence increase for clients who place significant emphasis on working with their representative on basic financial practices such as constructing a comprehensive, long-term financial plan. The study finds that while 37 percent of participants have a financial plan, many lack fundamental plan elements such as identifying objectives, determining a time horizon, assessing risk tolerance, and designating beneficiaries. Representatives can be instrumental in educating their clients about sound financial planning as well as in improving their financial literacy, which may lead to incremental increases in confidence.
Participants cite trust, listening, knowledge, experience, and integrity as the top traits they seek in a financial representative. Clients who have consolidated all of their assets with one financial representative indicate greater levels of satisfaction (55 percent very satisfied) with their representative than those who work with multiple representatives (47 percent very satisfied).
“Our research shows that human traits cannot be commoditized. If representatives focus on those things that drive client confidence, such as financial literacy and planning, and connect emotionally with their client, they increase their chances of becoming the sole trusted representative, which our study shows correlates to increases in overall representative satisfaction,” concluded Bryan.
To learn more about the study results, please visit The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™ or take the Financial Confidence Quiz.
About the Survey
Guardian conducted a national online survey of 4,971 Americans age 18 and older who are currently employed full-time or part-time, have never retired, and have household incomes of $50k or more.
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurers, with $7.4 billion in capital and $1.5 billion in operating income (before taxes and dividends to policyholders) in 2016. Founded in 1860, the company has paid dividends to policyholders every year since 1868. Its offerings range from life insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, and investments to dental and vision insurance and employee benefits. The company has approximately 8,800 employees and a network of over 2,750 financial representatives in 58 agencies nationwide. For more information about Guardian, please follow Guardian on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.