For financial advice on investing, and planning their retirement, U.S. investors prefer dedicated financial advisers over financial websites, 44% to 20%. That’s for investors with $10,000 or more in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRA or 401(k). For those with $100,000 or more, it’s even more skewed to humans at 53% (dedicated financial adviser) versus 23% (financial website). While websites have their place in the mix, clearly financial know-how is viewed as best synthesized and dispensed by a trusted adviser.

According to a 2014 Gallup Poll:

  1. The two most popular financial resources are Dedicated Adviser and Advisory Firm. Website and Friend or Family Member came in a distant third and fourth.
  2. Only 30% of investors say they are “very comfortable” using online or mobile technology for their investing or financial advice needs.
  3. About 27% are “somewhat comfortable.”
  4. A whopping 43% are “not comfortable” with it.


  1. Yes, online financial resources get a fair amount of attention.
  2. The survey shows investors still want expert advice to help navigate the stock market.
  3. Despite the chatter about online tools allowing users to punch in their portfolio and get a quick diagnosis and recommendation, most folks still want a real person—either a dedicated financial adviser or an advisory firm with live bodies in a call center—to help them make the best decisions.
  4. For financial matters like retirement, college savings, and healthcare, the majority of investors will be most receptive to, and best served by, a combination of computer and human advice.

To those who make their living in financial services: is this the time to ask some hard questions about whether or not you’re offering the right blend of online tools and human connection needed to bridge the gap between machine and mind?