Skip to main content
News Release

New Research Shows Significant Gaps Between Advisor, Consumer Views on Money Management

March 06, 2019

Survey shows there are opportunities for financial advisors to work with clients on spending, saving and budgeting

Financial advisors and consumers are not on the same page when it comes to spending, saving, budgeting and managing money, according to new research released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), in collaboration with research-led consulting firm Heart+Mind Strategies Advisors. 

 “Just like a doctor needs to know a person’s symptoms before making a diagnosis, so does a financial advisor need to know what a consumer is spending and saving before developing a comprehensive financial plan,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “While there may be some hesitation by consumers to ask for help, if financial advisors don’t proactively engage them on budgeting and cash flow needs, they are missing a clear opportunity to help their clients take control of their financial futures.” 

The findings reveal there is a significant disconnect between advisors and consumers when it comes to the perception that saving and managing money is easy. Nearly 8-in-10 consumers (78 percent) believe it is easy to save money, but only 39 percent of advisors agree. At the same time, most consumers (88 percent) believe it is easy to manage money, yet only 30 percent of advisors agree. 

To help bridge this gap, advisors believe clients would benefit from increased cash flow management – also known as budgeting, which for many people isn’t something that’s seen as important. In particular, nearly half of advisors (48 percent) agree that clients with a mismatch between spending and their overall goals would benefit most from cash flow management, followed by clients who have a low awareness of their spending (22 percent), clients that need to see the impact of saving more or spending less on future goals (21 percent) or clients with little emergency savings (8 percent). 

The benefits of cash flow management and budgeting are significant, according to advisors, with 96 percent agreeing that clients become more confident and secure about their financial futures. But developing a budget and performing cash flow exercises can be a challenge. Clients often withhold data, provide inaccurate information or are unwilling to adjust habits. Still, advisors continue to see it as a critical component to successful financial planning, with three-quarters of firms providing some form of cash flow management, and more than half (53 percent) including it in a client plan all or most of the time. 

“Understanding earnings and expenses are core to financial wellness at every income level. Even though budgeting can be a time-consuming process, it’s well worth it,” continued Keller. “CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are uniquely qualified to provide clients with a tangible idea of what to expect from their finances, ensure they have a better understanding of how to effectively manage spending, and empower them to feel confident and secure about their financial situations, today and in the future.” 

More information on the survey is available in an infographic here

Note on Methodology and Survey Report 
The online survey was conducted October 25 - November 2, 2018 among 133 full-time financial advisors and a national sample of 300 adults between the ages of 35 and 65 years of age, who are the primary or shared decision maker for personal finances and have investable assets of $100K+. A copy of the survey report by Heart+Mind Strategies can be accessed here or at


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.


Dan Drummond, Director of Communications
Mobile: 202-243-8621