Strong Need for Statewide Investor Education Push Seen In New Poll Showing Fewer Than Half Of Ohio Adults Have Financial Plans
Ambitious Statewide “Building the Bridge” Program Launched to Encourage More Ohio Residents to Save and Invest for Retirement; Events Planned in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati/Dayton.
COLUMBUS, OH – April 3, 2017 – Are you saving and investing for retirement? If not, you are far from alone in Ohio. A new survey shows that well under half (41 percent) of Ohio adults have a financial plan for retirement. That is a major reason why six in-state and national organizations – including the Westerville, OH-based Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE® ) and the Ohio Commerce Department-Division of Securities – are joining forces today to announce the launch of the “Building the Bridge to Investor Education and Protection for Ohioans” program, featuring a number of elements, including community events in three metropolitan areas (Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati/Dayton) across the state.
The Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of 738 Ohio adults was conducted March 20-22, 2017, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent. The other four sponsors of the “Building the Bridge” campaign are the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), Detroit Public Television (DPTV), and the “When I’m 65” documentary and engagement program.
Launching in May, the ambitious “Building the Bridge” program will feature the airing of the DPTV documentary “When I’m 65” on Ohio public television, three community events (Columbus in May, Cincinnati/Dayton in July, and Cleveland in September) and pro bono financial counseling and planning. For more information about “Building the Bridge” go to www.wi65.org/ohio.
The need for the “Building the Bridge” program is seen in the PPP survey findings, showing that lack of knowledge and mistrust are two key reasons why so many Ohioans do not have financial plans. Of those in Ohio without a financial plan, 23 percent say they don’t know enough “to feel comfortable” saving and investing for retirement. (That gap is even wider among African Americans at 34 percent compared to whites at 16 percent). Men are far more likely than women to cite distrust of both the markets and financial professionals as their top reason not to have a plan by a margin of 14 percent versus 3 percent. One telling result: Lack of funds is cited by just a third of those who are not planning for retirement. Of those in Ohio without a financial plan, only 34 percent say they don’t have enough money to save or invest for retirement (this is true of 27 percent of 18-29 year olds and 49 percent of 45-60 year olds without financial plans).
Rebecca Wiggins, executive director, Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education, said: “The survey results show that too many Ohio residents believe they cannot find affordable financial counseling. As a national nonprofit organization, we believe that all individuals and families – regardless of income or background – deserve access to quality professional financial counseling and education. We designed this program to help bridge the gap to investor education and protection, and to connect local professionals and organizations in an effort to create a more inclusive continuum of financial care for Ohioans. Through trusted resources and professionals – including Accredited Financial Counselors® (AFC® ), Ohio families will be better equipped to save, invest, and plan for retirement.”
Andrea Seidt, securities commissioner, Ohio Department of Commerce, said: “Our role as Ohio’s securities regulator is to help investors research investment advisers, stockbrokers and investment products before they invest their money. One of our goals as a state agency is to build awareness among investors about safe financial behavior to help prevent investment fraud, and we know that information and education are the best defense against Ohioans losing their hard-earned savings to fraudsters. We’re proud to be a supporter of this program because it ties in perfectly with our efforts to educate Ohioans about safe investing.”
Don Blandin, president and CEO, Investor Protection Trust and Investor Protection Institute, said: “People who are better educated about investing can be more financially secure and less susceptible to fraud. We are working as a partner to support this important Ohio initiative because we believe that all consumers deserve access to the highest standard of financial education and information.”
Other PPP survey findings include the following:
- Bad information and lack of knowledge may keep Ohioans from seeking financial help. Nearly six in 10 Ohio residents (57 percent) thinks it “costs a lot” to use a financial counselor or planner. Two in five do not understand the difference between a “financial planner” and a “financial counselor”.
- Few Ohio adults would use a windfall to save or invest for retirement. Only 24 percent of Ohio residents who got a “million-dollar windfall” would use most of the money to save or invest for retirement. Nearly a third (32 percent) would instead pay off debts, and another three in 10 would share much of the money with family members.
- Ohio residents rely more on word of mouth than checking out the background of a financial professional. Of those Ohio adults using a financial professional to help with their investments, 61 percent made their decision based on a recommendation from a relative, friend, co-worker or neighbor versus 24 percent who did their own research into the professional’s background and services. While a large share (76 percent) said they checked to see if the person was licensed to do business in Ohio, only 17 percent actually contacted the Ohio Department of Commerce – Securities Division, which is where they would be most likely to verify proper licensing.
- Younger investors in Ohio may be more inclined than their elders to check out financial professionals. Over half (54 percent) of 18-29 year olds said they contacted the Ohio Department of Commerce – Securities Division, versus just 8 percent of 46-65 year olds. Fewer than one in three (32 percent) of all Ohio adults with financial professionals said they used the FINRA BrokerCheck system to see background information on their financial professional. Another age gap was evident here: 66 percent of 18-29 year olds said they used BrokerCheck versus just 27 percent of 46-65 year olds.
The full survey findings are available online at www.wi65.org/ohio.
ABOUT THE GROUPS
For over 30 years, Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE® ) has set the highest standards for the field of financial counseling and education. We have worked with the government, the military and a wide range of agencies to set policy. We collaborate with partners that share our values and our vision for the future. Our constituents are instrumental in everything we do. Today, our nonprofit organization continues to set the standard for financial counseling, coaching and education. AFCPE has its national headquarters in Westerville, OH, just outside of Columbus. www.afcpe.org
A production of Detroit Public Television (DPTV), When I’m 65 is a groundbreaking national documentary and engagement program focusing on the realities of retirement in the 21st century and the financial choices that all Americans need to make to plan for a financially secure future. www.wi65.org
The “Building the Bridge to Investor Education and Protection for Ohioans” program is funded by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust (IPT). The IPT is a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Since 1993 the IPT has worked with the States to provide the independent, objective investor education needed by all Americans to make informed investment decisions. www.investorprotection.org
The Investor Protection Institute is an independent nonprofit organization that advances investor protection by conducting and supporting unbiased research and groundbreaking education programs. IPI carries out its mission through investor education, protection and research programs delivered at the national and grassroots level in collaboration with state securities regulators, nonprofits, universities, and other strategic partners. http://www.iInvest.org The Ohio Department of Commerce-Division of Securities protects Ohioans by licensing securities salespersons, dealers, investment advisers and investment adviser representatives, as well as securities offered for sale to Ohioans. http://www.com.ohio.gov/secu/default.aspx
MEDIA CONTACT: Max Karlin, for AFCPE, (703) 276-3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The When I’m 65 documentary is available here at http://www.wi65.org/video.