T. Rowe Price’s latest research, What Advisors Think About Financial Wellness, was conducted in conjunction with Duke University’s Common Cents behavioral finance lab and financial wellness provider Retiremap. It offers both a qualitative and quantitative view into how advisors think about—and differentiate with—financial wellness programs.
The research uncovered three key themes when it comes to advisors' perceptions about financial wellness programs:
1. Financial Wellness is a differentiator and business builder
2. There is opportunity to expand the reach of wellness beyond just basic and financial topics
3. Financial wellness solutions may work best using a range of tactics and resources
1. Business Builder and Differentiator
Differentiating is important—especially amid fee compression—and many advisors seek to do so through financial wellness.
Top reasons advisors are offering financial wellness:
1. Innovative and compelling way to broaden my value proposition
2. Capture of rollover IRA assets, additional investment opportunities
3. Differentiates my practice versus other advisors
4. That’s where the industry is headed
2. Topics Covered: Getting Beyond the Basics
The perception is that programs address only foundational financial skills.
According to advisors, the top four topics that financial wellness programs address:
The reality is that financial wellness can have varying levels of sophistication.
Implications for Advisors
- When advocating for wellness programs, don’t sell them short. Sponsors may be willing to listen to (and pay for) programs that have broader applicability across their work force.
- This approach may be especially beneficial for advisors who have proprietary financial wellness programs.
3. How Best to Deploy It
Personal interactions and coaching helps drive results—but they can be very hard to scale. Technology, on the other hand, may scale well but is more challenging to personalize. A robust financial wellness program may combine the two to balance resources with effectiveness.
Top methods of implementing a financial wellness program, based on percentage of time advisors rated each as a top-five method:
1. In-person, education-based group meetings
2. Apps to monitor finances and track accounts
3. Solutions to automatically manage income and cash flow
4. Short, prescriptive steps to achieve in set time frames
Implications for Advisors
- While some providers base their program on one primary method of deployment (for example, a high touch vs. a high tech solution), other providers use a combination of methods.
- Explore different wellness providers with our Program Evaluator.
- Use our Considerations for Selecting a Provider to as a guide to formulate an RFP when it comes time to vet one or two providers.
Discover More and Get the Tools You Need Through Our Financial Wellness Insights
Sources: What Advisors Think About Financial Wellness. T. Rowe Price, Retiremap; Duke University Common Cents Lab, 2017. Qualitative research was conducted with 22 advisors, averaging 17.75 years of defined contribution experience. Quantitative research was conducted with 300 advisors, averaging 11–15 years of defined contribution experience and managing an average of 55 plans.