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Mass Affluent Investors Need Advice

July 21, 2021

Many mass affluent consumers want advice on investing activity. While consumers in this segment tend to perceive themselves as self-directed investors, a significant number do use the services of investment advisors. The recent pandemic has motivated some mass affluent investors (particularly younger investors) to retrench from more-aggressive investments. A large number of mass affluent consumers have specific financial goals that require financial advice and guidance. These are among the findings from The Mass Affluent and Evolving Investment Strategies, a recent study by Phoenix Synergistics (a unit of Phoenix Marketing International). The study included a nationwide survey of 1,500 mass affluent consumers with investable financial assets of $100,000 to $1 million.

When questioned about their approach to investing, a significant number of mass affluent consumers report that they either make decisions themselves or only occasionally consult an advisor. Overall, half (52%) indicate an independent approach to investing. Those in the 18 to 49 age segment are significantly more likely to report an independent approach.

Mass Affluent, Affluent Consumers, Self Directed Investors

At the same time, a solid majority (74%) of mass affluent consumers indicate they consult some type of financial advisor. One-third (33%) use a specialized financial advisor that works for a financial institution or investment firm. Independent financial planners (23%) and bank branch representatives (21%) round out the top-three types of financial advisors used. Usage of any type of financial advisor is stronger among younger mass affluent consumers.

Mass Affluent, Affluent Consumers, Self Directed Investors

More than half of those who consult a financial advisor report they have an advisory relationship with someone at their primary financial institution. Incidence of this is significantly higher among those in the 18 to 49 age segment.

Overall, more than eight in ten (84%) mass affluent consumers indicate they need financial advice or guidance related to some type of financial goal or purpose. Retirement accounts/planning and help with selecting savings/investment options top the list.

Mass Affluent, Affluent Consumers, Self Directed Investors

Beyond the typical financial goals, there is evidence that mass affluent consumers may have immediate needs for advice and guidance about investing in the midst of turbulent market conditions. In response to the market movements during the early stages of the pandemic, three in ten (31% net) reported a seemingly fearful reaction—either reallocating investments to more-secure insured accounts, reallocating funds to less-volatile holdings, or selling holdings to avoid further losses. Younger mass affluent consumers were more likely to report this type of response.

Mass Affluent, Affluent Consumers, Self Directed Investors

Bill McCracken, President of Phoenix Synergistics at Phoenix MI, stated, “Results from this study provide valuable insights into the investment behavior of mass affluent consumers, who are a key target market for financial-service providers today. Their overall financial goals and their reactions to the pandemic represent opportunities for financial-service providers. This is particularly true for the younger segments of mass affluent consumers. Mass affluent consumers tend to not shy away from using financial advisors, although many think of themselves as being in the driver’s seat making their own decisions. When communicating with these investors, providers should cater to this independent mindset—while providing sound advice, as needed.”

These are among the findings from a recent Phoenix Synergistics study, The Mass Affluent and Evolving Investment Strategies, which features 1,500 online interviews with mass affluent consumers.

Phoenix Synergistics, a unit of Phoenix Marketing International, is the leading provider of multi-sponsor marketing research for the financial services industry. For more information, contact Bill McCracken, president, Phoenix Synergistics, email

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