Americans don't trust financial advisers

As a result of everything from bad advice to outright fraud, a 2016 poll by the American Association of Individual Investors showed 65% of respondents saying they mistrust the financial services industry to some extent.  Growing numbers of Americans are trying to do their own financial planning.

Franck Cushner, financial adviser with Ensemble Financial, says millennials in particular don’t seem to want to trust the experts.  “For better or for worse, they are saving more, which is great,” he notes.  “The bad news is they aren’t saving properly, so they’re not putting money into aggressive enough investments.”

“They’re not reaching out for advice,” Cushner adds.  “They’re relying on themselves on the Internet.  But as any doctor will tell you, self-diagnosing yourself is not necessarily the best way to go.”

Cushner says the industry has changed since he first got started about 20 years ago.  “I was very upset when I saw how many advisers working at the different brokerage firms that I was at,” he says, “and the stuff that they were saying so get their clients to buy products that were unsuitable, just so they could make a commission.”

Cushner says you still have to be careful of who you’re dealing with. “There are a lot of investment advisers out there that aren’t necessarily certified financial planners,” he points out.  “They may be working for a bank or a brokerage firm or an insurance company and call themselves a financial adviser, but they’re limited to a certain set of products that they can sell.”

A new fiduciary rule was put into place last month, requiring financial advisers who work with retirement accounts to act in their clients' best interests at all times.  But implementation of the rule has been delayed.

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