Why millionaires value their advisors for their long-term financial planning

Americans with at least $1 million in investable assets are generally pretty good at managing their long-term financial future according to a new survey.

But not all of those polled by Northwestern Mutual have the peace of mind that a robust financial plan provides and are concerned that, unless they do so, they may run out of retirement savings in their lifetime.

More than 8 in 10 of this wealthy cohort have a long-term financial plan – far higher than the 52% of average Americans – and 70% work with a financial advisor – almost double that of the general population.

“Wealthy people hold themselves to an exceptionally high standard when it comes to managing their finances,” said Aditi Javeri Gokhale, chief strategy officer, president of retail investments and head of institutional investments at Northwestern Mutual. “They don’t go on autopilot. Instead, they aim to see well beyond today. That includes the possibility of twists and turns in their financial lives.”

But 47% of those with a seven-figure fortune say their financial planning still needs improvement, and 33% think it’s possible they could outlive their retirement savings.


The 2023 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study also highlights how highly advisors’ advice is valued compared to other sources.

More than half of millionaires said that their advisor is their most trusted source of financial advice, beating spouses/partners in a very distant second place at 11%, followed by business news at 10%.

Asked why they might consider changing advisors, the top answer (48%) was to move to an advisor offering more comprehensive financial advice than their current one, while 37% would switch to an advisor who has a better understanding of their life stage and priorities.

“It’s wise for the wealthy to seek out a second opinion about the strength of their financial plans,” said Javeri Gokhale. “Periods of uncertainty like the one we’re in now are spurring people to take inventory about the choices they’ve made and reconsider if their advisors are the right fit for them. As more affluent Americans intentionally seek out comprehensive financial advice instead of individual financial products, I expect to see this trend of second opinion seekers to grow.”

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