Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 625–643 | Cite as

The Value of Seeking Financial Advice

  • Mitchell Marsden
  • Cathleen D. ZickEmail author
  • Robert N. Mayer
Original Paper


Retirement planning data gathered from an online survey at a large university in October 2009 are used to examine differences in a variety of retirement planning measures between people who have and have not met with a financial advisor. Problems of self-selection and endogeneity are addressed through the use of propensity scores. The study’s major finding is that working with an advisor is related to several important financial planning activities, including goal setting, calculation of retirement needs, retirement account diversification, use of supplemental retirement accounts, accumulation of emergency funds, positive behavioral responses to the recent economic crisis, and retirement confidence. Use of a financial advisor was not related to self-reported retirement savings or short-term growth in retirement account asset values.


Financial advisor Retirement planning Retirement preparedness 



The research reported in this paper was supported by grants from the University of Utah’s Center on Aging and the University of Utah’s Institute of Public and International Affairs. The University of Utah Benefits Office and Kara Glaubitz also provided valuable assistance with this research project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell Marsden
    • 1
  • Cathleen D. Zick
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert N. Mayer
    • 2
  1. 1.Longview Financial AdvisorsHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Consumer StudiesUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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