Should You Just Google Financial Advice?

Google is the starting point to many important life choices, but when it comes to your finances, make sure it’s not the only point of call.
U
Melissa
Cohen
Published: Wednesday, July 26th 2017
General
Remember when we used to consult each other for advice? Now we plug everything from, ‘How to poach an egg?’ to ‘What is Pokémon Go?’ into Google. But how far can we take consulting the Internet’s most popular search engine for advice?

Can You Google Financial Advice?

I’m sure by now we all know you can google literally anything. The question is, should you? According to a poll by Zurich UK, self-described as ‘one of the world's most experienced insurers’, millennials prefer google to financial advisers. Well, other search engines as well, to be fair. The point is, out of more than 2,000 adults surveyed, 15% of the millennials (aged 18-34) are consulting Google for financial advice. This is more than any other of the age groups. Just to illustrate, only 3% of those aged 35-44 allow Google to manage their money decisions. For some reason, however, the figure rises again for the 45-54 year-olds and the 55+ age group with 9% of them googling financial help.
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We Can Do It Ourselves

Whether it’s trust issues or a confidence in their own abilities, there are differing opinions. InvestmentNews.com reported millennials prefer a blend of robo and human advice. They, however, go on to say that they trust neither enough to take their advice without consulting someone else first. An Accenture survey of 1,300 investors reports that many enjoy the ease of use and low-cost products that hybrid models make possible. But they also value being able to speak with a human adviser. One in five millennials surveyed by Zurich accredited their avoidance of advisers to “confidence in their ability to sort their own financial futures”. Almost a quarter said they were too young, and more than a third said they didn’t earn enough to need to speak to a financial adviser.
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A Generational Disconnect

Head of Zurich UK Life, Anne Torry, said: “The internet is a good starting point, but people must also be cautious with the financial information available online, as this won’t be specific to everyone’s needs.” Ayodeji Onibalusi wrote for Entrepreneur that at the heart of the generational disconnect between financial advisers and millennials is an image issue. Advisors are painted as “antiquated men in suits”. A study by Vanguard, one of the world's largest investment management companies, found that individual investors obtained broad benefits from the wealth management and planning process. And then there’s the behavioural coaching offered by a skillful adviser which alone can add 1.5% to a client's long-term performance. By far the biggest value an adviser offers is in helping clients write, understand, and stick to their financial plan. Torry acknowledges the many tailored tools that are available online. But she warns: “…many millennials are missing out on “the benefits of independent financial advice to help them achieve their goals because of misperceptions, such as being too young.”
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