More investors are turning to the internet for their financial tips, which is fine as long as they also run those tips past their financial advisor before taking action, according to Jim Beam of TD Wealth.
Having more information, which can be gathered from a number of sources, is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as investors take the source into consideration and ask a financial professional about their options, Beam, who is TD Wealth’s head of investment management, brokerage, planning, retirement and strategy for the U.S., said in an interview.
“Information is no longer a commodity. High-net-worth and mass affluent investors today have access to more investment advice and information than ever, and many are increasingly turning to social media platforms to not only solicit, but to act on, investment advice,” Beam said.
According to a recent Investor Pulse survey by TD Wealth, more than half of high-net-worth and mass affluent investors have used an online search engine or social media to find investment advice in the past 12 months, the survey said. The Investor Pulse survey included 500 mass affluent and high-net-worth investors with investible assets of $100,000 to $750,000 in key TD Wealth markets, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and South Florida.
The online activity does not stop with searching for information; many investors are also taking action based on the things they learn from digital platforms. Eighty-five percent of those who used generative AI, such as ChatGPT, took action based on what they learned. For other information sources, such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, the percentage of investors who acted on the information ranged from 62% to 64%, according to the survey.
“It is likely that investors are increasingly turning to social media platforms for investment advice due to the rising cost of working with a financial advisor and the democratized nature of investing where self-investing platforms are at every investor’s fingertips,” TD Wealth said.
The survey results also showed that younger investors in particular are anxious to explore new investing options, probably due to the volatile markets. Nearly three-quarters of investors aged 18 to 44 have explored new investments for their portfolios, while only 42% of those aged 45 to 65, and 17% of those older than 65 explored new investments. The results “demonstrated that younger investors are interested in new, exciting asset classes,” the survey said.
Of those who were looking for new investment ideas, the top three areas explored include private markets, such as private equity, private credit real estate; infrastructure; digital assets, such as cryptocurrency and NFTs; and environmental, social and governance investing.
Almost all (93%) said they have a long-term investment plan, and of those investors, 64% work with a financial advisor. Some investors report that they used to work with a financial advisor on a long-term investment plan, but now no longer do so because they feel it became too expensive; they did not like how their portfolio was performing; or they did not receive any new investment ideas from their financial advisor.
Investors are becoming more cautious due to ongoing macroeconomic challenges marked by rising interest rates, market volatility and geopolitical uncertainty.
Respondents also said they think the situation will get worse. Eighty-one percent said they expect to see an economic downturn in the next 12 months, which highlights how many people do not expect the uncertainty to abate anytime soon. Younger investors are more concerned about interest rates compared to older cohorts, while older investors are more concerned about political uncertainty, the survey said.
Investors’ goals are what would be expected, according to the survey – planning for retirement and long-term care, paying for their children’s or grandchildren’s education, owning a home and funding a start-up business.