Untucked Episode 86 – Schwab Modern Wealth Survey
Meghan Tait: [00:00:00] Coach’s corner Um, so we’re going to talk about the Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Survey. Uh, Schwab conducted this survey in March of 2023 and, uh, surveyed a national sample of Americans aged 21 to 75. Survey covered a lot of ground, so we’re going to pick a few specific topics that we want to cover.
Anywhere in particular you guys want to start?
Mike Traynor: I, I don’t like surveys in general, and, you know, they all do the same ones, Schwab and Fidelity and Bangor, they all put out the same thing, which is like, we surveyed people about how much they feel it takes for them to feel wealthy, and yada yada yada, I guess the one thing that stuck out to me was, When they talked about, um, the differences between generations when it comes to maybe the use of social media, specifically to use it to make investment decisions or follow other [00:01:00] people’s advice on social media or not.
Like, anyone would predict that younger generations are going to be way more up to scale than older. But I still was surprised at the level of engagement that younger people have with financial advice on social media and specifically they are following advice from people on social media to do things.
Um, so for example, uh, you know, 60% of Gen Z. Follows influencers around about who share financial advice, but yet also fit almost the same percentage makes purchases based on what I see my friends and other influences sharing on social media, which is very concerning to me and, um, a red flag to say the least, because we’ve talked before about some of the garbage that’s out there.
There may be some good. There are there. There are good things [00:02:00] out there being shared, but I think it’s in the minority
Jeff Mastronardo: for sure. It’s in the minority. And that’s but that’s the way that generate this generation is being raised. I mean, my kids are being raised. By their parents to be good human beings, but they’re getting their information from social media, right?
Like how to lift, how to eat, how to clean your house, how to, like, do everything. It’s all following people that do not have to show any credentials whatsoever. My son’s following people that lift and, oh, I have to eat, drink creatine and take pre workout. Like, dude, you’re 14. Like, you don’t have to do… You shouldn’t do any of that stuff.
So, and we’re seeing the same thing in the financial world with people that have no credentials whatsoever, but are telling the entire world, this is how you generate wealth and
Mike Traynor: this is what you should do. of those things are predictably things like crypto. Stop, [00:03:00] um, flip real estate, you know, those sorts of things, which are absolute jokes of pieces of advice to give the masses.
And how many times
Jeff Mastronardo: have we even seen, um, what’s her Susie Orman and the guy who started FUBU, uh, I forget his name. Oh, the guy from shark tank. Yeah. Like, I mean, we’ve seen them with social media posts that they posted with information that was just dead. Yeah.
Mike Traynor: Or math that was totally wrong. Math was
Jeff Mastronardo: completely off.
And it’s probably like being edited and clipped where it’s like, they just brain farted and said it because they just speak so much and spew so much opinion and bullshit all the time that yeah, you’re bound to like say something that’s wrong, but people watch it. And people follow it and then people believe it.
Oh, if I put a hundred, a hundred dollars away a month for the, between 25 and 65, I’ll have 6 million. Like, no, you’ll have like 25, 000.
Meghan Tait: Yeah. I mean, but I think, and we’ve talked about it [00:04:00] before and these surveys really just reiterate the point. Like. Social media is here to stay, right? Like, we can talk about how, um, how poor the advice is, or how, you know, not applicable it is to the vast majority of people, or how wrong some of the things that are being talked about or advised on are.
But TikTok’s not going anywhere, Instagram’s not going anywhere, Twitter and Facebook aren’t going anywhere, like, I shouldn’t say Facebook, I think that makes me a boomer, but like, um, you know, there, there has to, we have to start, I’m not saying the three of us, but generally, like, if this is going to be a platform or these are going to be platforms in which people are seeking advice, the people who do it the right way have to have a presence there.
And it’s not going to drown out the noise of all of the other, you know, other people who are saying the wrong things, but we can equate that to TV and the news cycle, right? There’s a lot [00:05:00] of, there’s a lot of outlets that say or, you know, exaggerate things and I mean, the, the advisors and the firms that are doing it the right way have to build.
Online social presences even though we hate it and we cringe about it Like it’s critically important if this is how people are going to absorb information
Mike Traynor: true, and i’m gonna whine now because What’s just amazing is how heavily regulated we are In terms of what we can say publicly and, you know, what we can say, really anywhere and the amount of garbage that can be shared and monetized, frankly, on social media by people who have no accountability to regulators is just unacknowledged.
Amazing that this is what our sec and our regulators are, are doing. They don’t have no clue whatsoever about technology first and foremost, because [00:06:00] they’re a bunch of 71 year old old people mostly. Um, but it’s really something that should be talked about more. Um, I don’t know who or how or where, where, why, but it’s just a, it’s a real problem because they fly under a, there’s like, the radar is so high that you can fly under in terms of.
You can go out there and give financial advice and with no repercussions. And then you get views and clicks and revenue and all that. It’s just, it’s just insane.
Meghan Tait: It’s not whining. That’s the reality of it. It’s just, and maybe that’s where as advisors it’s like. It’s a complete uphill battle, right? Like, it’s daunting to think about, okay, we’re gonna spend time, energy, and resources doing it this particular way because we have to, but then 99% of the other information doesn’t have to adhere to the same rules and regulations.
It’s like, well, [00:07:00] why even start? But I guess, again, back to my point, it’s just like, if we do nothing, then we’re also at a, like, leaving consumers, they’re at a disservice because they don’t have access to people and firms like ours who, I’m saying do it the right way, follow the rules, for lack of a better term.
Jeff Mastronardo: Why do these firms like Fidelity and Schwab and Vanguard, why do they produce these surveys? What’s the purpose of them? Because so many people want to know where they stand?
Mike Traynor: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think I don’t find any value in them. Yeah, I agree. I, I, I know what you mean. Um, are they for us
Jeff Mastronardo: or for the, or for the cons or they’re for consumers?
Meghan Tait: I think they’re more for advisors or more
Mike Traynor: for a little bit. Yeah. Probably more for advisors. But I’ll also say this, having worked in.
These kinds of places. There’s a lot of people in there that need stuff [00:08:00] to do. And I’m not kidding. Like there’s marketing departments full of people that do this stuff. And they feel really proud of their product. That this is what, you know, they’ve produced this phenomenal comprehensive survey showing this, that, and the other.
But, um, and then Schwab puts it out and Fidelity’s like, Whoa, hey, you guys got to do the same thing. Vanguard, you got to do this. You know, they all, that’s why there’s three of them or 10 of them or whatever it
Meghan Tait: is. I know the information seems very common sense to us, but if you think about the majority of, and I’m going to say like older school financial planning firms that are run by, you know, people like 60 plus, Right, like we have a multi generational office with people kind of ranging in age.
So there’s an awareness of I think some of the more modern technological features of life that a lot of firms, older firms, maybe don’t have. [00:09:00] So I do think some of this would be more valuable to like a 62 year old planner who’s like how do I think about bringing in younger clients or something like that.
Mike Traynor: and also though it is targeted towards Individuals because I’ll, I’ll reference one of the slides here, the title of which is about a third of Americans have a documented financial plan, and those who have one feel more in control of their finances. Well, guess who sells booklets and of financial plans to people?
Um, Fidelity, for example, will give you a 55 page bound quote unquote financial plan and say, here it is, now don’t you feel better about yourself? And it’s, it’s worth the paper it’s printed on, right? I mean, the documented financial plan thing, I think we should debate, Jeff. Because I think,
Jeff Mastronardo: go ahead. I think if someone’s going to go to a Fidelity or Vanguard and get their boilerplate documented financial [00:10:00] plan.
I would have to guess that that couple or person is probably doing better than the people that aren’t at least taking that step. Okay. Fair enough. As, as boilerplate as they are, it, it, it, it, it shows me that their, their wheels are at least turning and they’re, they want to get more information and they want to improve their situation.
They’re, they may do a few things a little bit better than the person who doesn’t do that. If they’re not getting like a true document, a financial plan, like what we give people, or were you saying like, we
Mike Traynor: don’t even give people? Because a financial plan is not a document. It literally changes by the.
Month and year and, uh, ever,
Jeff Mastronardo: forever. Right. The concept of a financial plan is always changing. Correct. But you gotta start somewhere. And we start with a financial plan for people.
Mike Traynor: But we don’t hand them a binder that says, Here’s your financial plan. We literally
Jeff Mastronardo: hand them a binder that says, Here’s your financial plan.
Mike Traynor: that’s not how it
Jeff Mastronardo: goes. That’s exactly what we do. Like, here’s how we’re going to start your financial plan. You’re going to sell all these assets over here. You’re going to buy all these assets over here. You’re going to go talk to this attorney and get a will. Like, we literally hand it to them.
Mike Traynor: But that’s one piece of the process of planning.
Planning. It’s not a plan. It’s not a noun. It’s planning. It’s a, it’s a, it’s action, right? So what
Jeff Mastronardo: do we hand people? What do we call those? You
Meghan Tait: are agreeing.
Jeff Mastronardo: Kind of, but. I agree. But like to say we don’t give people a document, a financial plan to start their planning. Is wrong. We absolutely do. We, we give
Meghan Tait: documents and we give, we give advice and we give guidance in the form of a physical Sure.
Handout. I, but it’s not the full plan in
Mike Traynor: one book. It’s not. Yes. Megan’s making my point. I am, I am comparing this to what Fidelity says. Okay. We wrapped up your, you’ve, we’ve, you have your financial plan, you have the intake of all the information. Here is your financial plan. Here’s the have a nice day.
Jeff Mastronardo: [00:12:00] distinction. It’s like people think they got their financial plan. And now they’re good to go. Yes. And then it goes back to like these other people that think like, okay I got that i’ll just come back in five years and like redo my financial plan. Yeah, right Okay. Well, what did you do between years one and five?
Mike Traynor: We’re saying the
Jeff Mastronardo: same
Meghan Tait: thing. Okay, so generally speaking, we didn’t feel like this survey gave us a lot of new or valuable information. It kind of just validated the way we think anyway. Yeah. Old
Jeff Mastronardo: people don’t use social media, young people do. Got it.
Mike Traynor: Right. And it’s a lot of like the value of time versus the value of like your financial assets.
Obviously, as you get older, time is more important than, you know, the money. Again, to us, you know, no brainer. We, we know this, but, um. I don’t know. Did
Meghan Tait: you guys have any, were you surprised by any of [00:13:00] the factors not having enough, or why people don’t engage in financial planning or why they don’t build a financial plan?
The first is the perception of not having enough money. Feeling like it’s too complicated, not having enough time, haven’t had a major life event, or probably too expensive. You’re like, check, check, check, check. Like, duh. Yeah.
Jeff Mastronardo: It’s exactly why people don’t do it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Mike Traynor: Yeah. And again, across demographics, it, it skews as you would
Jeff Mastronardo: expect.
But it’s, it’s like, that’s exactly why people don’t eat better. Right. It’s too expensive. It takes too much time. Like, yeah, it’s why we don’t do a lot of things in life. Like, thank you for identifying why I don’t do the things I should. You nailed it.