New Study Finds More Than Half of St. Louis Residents Surveyed Struggle to Find Trusted Financial Advice

Trust, Perceived Cost and Time Constraints Are Among the Major Deterrents Preventing St. Louisans from Seeking Information for their Financial Future
Those Who Receive Advice Take Positive Action with Financial Plans
St. Louis, October 21, 2013 —TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services provider, recently released findings from its second annual Financial Advice Survey, revealing that more than half of St. Louis residents surveyed – and nearly half of Americans – say it is hard to know which sources of financial advice can be trusted.
Identical surveys were conducted nationally and in St. Louis, revealing that area residents generally share nationwide attitudes but differ in some notable respects. For instance, 48 percent of St. Louis residents who seek advice regularly rely on financial advice from a stockbroker or accountant, compared to only 35 percent of nationwide respondents.
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and polled a random sample of 1,000 adults nationwide, as well as an additional 400 St. Louis residents, on their attitudes, preferences and behaviors about receiving financial advice.
Key findings from the survey show St. Louisans’ lack of trust and comfort in discussing financial advice is mostly due to not knowing what sources they can trust.
  • While 81 percent of St. Louisans believe it is easy to find financial advice, 53 percent say it is hard to know which sources of financial advice can be trusted.
  • Thirty-three percent of St. Louisans never seek advice about their finances.
  • Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of St. Louisans are interested in receiving financial advice, but 88 percent feel they’re informed about managing their personal finances.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of St. Louisans seeking advice say they regularly rely on financial advice from a stockbroker or accountant, 13 percentage points higher than respondents in the rest of the country.
  • When looking for advice, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of St. Louisans are interested in guidance on general savings and investing strategies.
“When it comes to financial advice, trust and personal touch are key if we expect individuals to take action,” said Doug Rothermich, TIAA-CREF vice president of wealth planning strategies. “Delivering relevant and trustworthy financial counsel is at the core of what we strive for at TIAA-CREF. Our own experience shows those who seek financial advice act on it, and those who act on it have an opportunity to create better financial futures for themselves and their families.”
Survey results also revealed notable differences in the perception of financial advice and management between men and women in St. Louis:
  • Retirement-related advice is the most popular subject. Among St. Louis women who seek financial advice, about seven in 10 look for information on saving for retirement (69 percent) and making retirement savings last (70 percent).
  • Women are more likely to act. After receiving financial advice, 87 percent of women say they act all or some of the time, while only 76 percent of men say the same.
  • Women change their spending habits. Two-thirds of women who seek advice say they have changed or decreased their spending habits after receiving financial advice.
  • Women turn to friends and family. Sixty-one percent of women rely on friends and family for financial advice, compared to 46 percent of men.
To give women the tools they need to help them plan for a financially secure and successful future, TIAA-CREF continues to expand its Woman to Woman Financial Empowerment Series, which includes workshops that are developed by women, for women. Each workshop is interactive, allowing attendees to learn from the financial advisor, as well as the other women in the room. To date, this program has reached thousands of women across the country. Seventy-three percent of these attendees have increased their retirement plan contributions.1
In response to individuals’ diverse needs and preferences for receiving information, TIAA-CREF continues to expand its portfolio of advice and financial education resources to give clients more options for receiving help, including:
  • Enhanced Online Advice and Guidance Center: TIAA-CREF’s Advice and Guidance Center has expanded to feature articles and resources based on commonly searched financial topics, including retirement, and a variety of other important life events. The enhanced site also delivers TIAA-CREF clients individualized content to ensure the information they receive is relevant. Visitors to the site can customize their experience by answering a simple profile question to receive targeted financial information.
  • TIAA-CREF “Financial Essentials” Financial Education Program: One year after unveiling a series of new in-person workshops and webinars, the program continues to expand to address a variety of topics from investing, saving and budgeting to planning and living in retirement. New workshops tackle the real issues individuals face, like planning for healthcare costs in retirement and learning how to effectively use online tools to help manage their finances. To date, 95 percent of attendees say the workshops are “very valuable.”2
  • In-Person Advice Services: TIAA-CREF will add more than 200 advisors to its team around the country by the end of 2014. Since the beginning of 2012, TIAA-CREF has grown the number of advisors by more than 75 percent, helping individual clients across the country on their journey toward financial well-being.
TIAA-CREF has been offering personalized retirement plan advice on the plans record-kept by TIAA since 2005 at no additional cost to clients. To deliver high-quality and personalized advice, TIAA-CREF offers hundreds of thousands of in-person and online advice consultations each year. According to research conducted by TIAA-CREF in 2012, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those who received in-person advice and more than half (54 percent) of those who used TIAA-CREF’s Retirement Advisor tool took action, choosing to either save more, revisit their portfolio allocation or rebalance their portfolio.3
For more information on TIAA-CREF’s advice and guidance offerings, visit our Advice and Guidance Center.
For more information on the national survey, read the 2013 TIAA-CREF Financial Advice Survey Executive Summary .

Survey Methodology

The nationwide survey was conducted by KRC Research by phone using both landline and cell phones among a national random sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 years and older, between August 28, 2013, and September 2, 2013. The margin of error for the entire sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The St. Louis survey was conducted by KRC Research by phone using both landline and cell phones among a random sample of 400 adults in the St. Louis designated market area (DMA), age 18 years and older, between September 13, 2013, and September 19, 2013. The margin of error for the DMA is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.


TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with $542 billion in assets under management (as of 9.30.13). It is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

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  1. Based on internal TIAA-CREF Women to Women Workshop results tracking to June 2013. Measures contributions of participant registrants YTD June 2012 over YTD June 2013.
  2. Based on internal TIAA-CREF Financial Essentials Workshop survey results tracking to September 2013.
  3. TIAA-CREF Advice & Planning, 2012.
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