Americans are changing who they turn to for financial advice

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When it comes to personal finances, Americans are changing who they’re turning to for advice.

About 26% of Americans say their most trusted source for financial advice this year is a financial advisor, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual. The survey includes responses from over 2,300 individuals.

That’s a change from last year, when 30% said their most trusted source for financial advice was themselves. This year, only 20% say that they trust themselves the most.

After professionals and themselves, the most common people Americans trust for financial advice are their spouse or partner (16%) and a family member (13%).

Overall, the survey finds that the value of professional advice has increased in the last year, Tim Gerend, executive vice president and chief distribution officer at Northwestern Mutual, tells CNBC Make It. That’s due, in part, to the pandemic, Gerend says, which created financial hurdles and setbacks for many people over the last year and a half.

“After the events of last year, many people are looking for someone they can trust during unpredictable times,” Gerend says.

Around 38% of survey respondents say they are currently working with a financial advisor, up from 29% who worked with one before the pandemic. Another 15% of respondents did not have an advisor before the pandemic, but are planning to work with one in the future.

Gerend sees it as a positive thing that more people are turning to professionals for help with their finances. “A good advisor will help protect you against the risks of what can go wrong (think insurance) and help take advantage of opportunities when things go well (think investing),” he says.

Getting ahold of your finances isn’t something you have to do alone.

“Turning to financial advisors can alleviate some of that anxiety when it comes to navigating financial priorities and planning for long-term goals,” Gerend says.

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