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Hearts & Wallets is the resource for retail investor data and insights, combining a consumer marketing framework with financial services operating experience. The company is a catalyst for consumer-driven innovation in retail investing and saving. 


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Pain Points & Actions

Insights to Address Large Advice Gaps by Reaching Consumers With Unmet Needs - a Quantitative Report

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Report Overview

The Pain Points & Actions: Insights to Address Large Advice Gaps by Reaching Consumers With Unmet Needs report reveals the most pressing pain points different groups of consumers face, the reasons they seek help, and the actions they have taken and plan to take. 

 Written by subject matter experts with operating experience in retail finance, consumer packaged goods and technology development, the ideas and analysis of this insight module are drawn from the latest fielding of the Hearts & Wallets Investor Quantitative™ Database (IQ™ Database), recognized as the largest single dataset on U.S. retail consumer attitudes, behaviors and buying patterns, with over 46,000 U.S. households.  

Select Key Findings

  • The vast majority of consumers who find a task difficult don’t seek help, creating large advice gaps. 
  • “Choosing appropriate investments” is a top pain point for all consumers. Among the many tasks that consumers say are difficult is “managing the finances of my loved ones as they age.” 
  • Customers of Merrill Lynch (36%) are most likely to plan to "change investment mix" (36%) while customers of E*Trade (41%) and Scottrade (45%) are most likely to have already taken this action.

How This Report Helps

Marketing, product and advice/digital design professionals will benefit from the actionable data and insights in this report to: 

  • Gain insight into consumer confusion and inertia to tailor campaigns and products to address advice gaps for unmet consumer needs in areas like retirement planning. 
  • Develop actionable strategies based on the tasks consumers find difficult, going beyond top pain points to uncover opportunities for differentiation. 
  •  Use growing consumer engagement with financial tasks to shape product development and messaging. 
  • Inspire younger consumers with new programs that provide access to help to the large number of households within this group that plan to take action. 
  • Reap the benefits of the competitive insights into the buying patterns at your firm, competitors and distributors to develop products and enhance loyalty. 

About the Hearts & Wallets Investor Quantitative™ Database

The Hearts & Wallets Investor Quantitative™ Database (IQDB) is the comprehensive resource for understanding and analyzing behaviors and attitudes of retail savers and investors. With over 1,000 fields and derived variables, the breadth and depth of topics covered is designed with decades of hands-on experience in the marketing, product, service and research functions it serves. The database covers consumers of all age and wealth segments, with over 5,000 annual responses to an online survey fielded mid-year since 2010. The large sample size of over 46,000 U.S. households permits sizing and profiling of virtually any demographic, behavioral or attitudinal definition for consumer groups. Its national weighting methodology allows for comparisons across years and customer/shareholder bases of leading firms.   

“Rarely does any content that I’ve read over the years reach the level of sophistication and credibility that Hearts & Wallets produces.”    

– Consumer Insights Professional, major diversified firm          

Table of Contents/Directory of Exhibits and Index of Companies

Executive Summary

Key Findings & Implications Favorite Statistics, Related Research


Financial Tasks More Relevant to More Consumers

Financial Tasks, Applicable vs. Not Applicable: Pre-/Post-Retirees


Financial Tasks, Applicable vs. Not Applicable: Accumulators


Top Pain Point “Choosing Appropriate Investments”

Selected Financial Tasks, Difficulty 6-10: by Lifestage


Financial Tasks, Difficulty 6-10: Post-Retirees, Pre-Retirees, Accumulators


Selected Financial Tasks, Difficulty 6-10: by Accumulator Lifestages


Low Rates Seeking Help Creating Large Advice Gaps

Seeking Help on Selected Financial Tasks: by Lifestage


Seeking Help on Financial Tasks: Post-Retirees, Pre-Retirees, Accumulators


Early Career Analysis: Difficulty, Seeking Help, Advice Gaps


More Younger Consumers Plan to Take Action vs. Older Consumers

Financial Actions Taken/Planned: Pre-/Post-Retirees, Accumulators


Financial Actions Planned: Accumulators vs. Pre-/Post-Retirees


Financial Actions Planned: by Accumulator Lifestages


Financial Actions Planned, Sized in Households (M) and Total Investable Assets ($T)


Actions Planned Vary Based on Customers of Each Store

Financial Actions Taken/Planned: by Store Customer Bases


Top 5 Actions Planned: by Customer Bases of TIAA, Fidelity and Ameriprise



Appendix: Terminology & Definition, Sample Sizes


Index of Companies

American Funds



6, 8, 34-36

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

8, 34-35

Capital One



6, 8, 34-35

Charles Schwab


Edward Jones



8, 34-35

Fidelity Investments

6, 8, 34-35

JP Morgan Chase


Morgan Stanley





6, 8, 34-35


6, 8, 34-35

T. Rowe Price








Wells Fargo

6, 8, 34-35

Published October 16, 2018. This 40-page report features 27 data-intensive exhibits.

Investment -- Special Packages Available!

Investor Quantitative™ Database

$14,000 each

Special: 2 for $25,000

__ Pain Points & Actions: Insights to Address Large Advice Gaps by Reaching Consumers with Unmet Needs. Published October 16, 2018.

__ Investment Products & Asset Managers: Building Product Relevancy Through Customer Insights. Published September 18, 2018.

__ Money Movement: Insights to Outsmart the Competition as New Accounts are on the Rise. Published August 21, 2018.

__ Retirement & Funding: Building Informed Expectations About Sources of Income in Retirement.  Published June 19, 2018.

__ Income & Net Worth: Thirst for Liquidity and Other Actionable Surprises in Human Capital and Household Finance. Published May 16, 2018.

__ Stores & Success Metrics: Winning the “Hearts & Wallets” of Customers.  Published April 9, 2018.

Portrait™ Market Sizing


__ Portrait™ of U.S. Household Wealth: Essential Building Blocks to Empower Strategy & Prioritization. Published February 26, 2019.

Explore Qualitative™ Series


Accumulators, Talking Finance With Friends: Insights Into Disruptive Trends in Savings, Digital Advice and Asset Management. Published July 19, 2018 -- get all modules or choose from the following:

$4,000 each. Qualitative Insight Modules
__ How Friends Influence Finance (Sentiment)
__ Social Uses of Technology (Exercise)
__ Role for Asset Managers (Exercise)
__ Investment Account for Future Health Care Expenses (Concept Test)
__ Banking and Investing Together (Concept Test)
__ Digital Investment Advice with a Planning Option (Concept Test)

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About Hearts & Wallets

Hearts & Wallets is the resource for retail investor data and insights, combining a consumer marketing framework with financial services operating experience. The company is a catalyst for consumer-driven innovation in retail investing and saving. 


Call now 800-930-0966 x1