Survey Says: Financial Advisors' Daily Digest

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By SA Gil Weinreich :

I have a newfound appreciation of surveys - thanks to the great response I received from readers of this column.

I think it's worth explaining why since, probably like most of you, I have taken umbrage at the barrage of surveys that constantly bombard us. Especially annoying are financial services company surveys. You call an 800 number and they tell you they have "selected" you for a survey. But there's nothing random or selective - it's every single person every time!

My survey generated 158 responses, and I forgive all my survey-fatigued readers who did not answer. But I praise all those who did answer because I have learned, from this first survey I have ever personally conducted, their unique value. The survey yielded two key benefits: First, I got to learn more about who my readers are, and second, how they relate to my column.

Specifically, I found that the anonymity of a survey unites both the pollster (me) and readers in a common constructive purpose: Readers can speak their mind freely to explain what they find of value and what they do not, information the pollster (at least this pollster) very much wants to know.

So here are the key finds: Most readers are regulars, with over 60% of you reading this column 4-5 times a week; another third read the column 2-3 times a week and just 8% read the column one time a week or less. Similarly, most (58%) equally value the links and the commentary; about a third prefer the commentary and 12% the links.

About a third of the readers are financial advisors, not really a surprise on a website whose audience is overwhelmingly non-advisors. I asked the advisors what they thought of having non-advisors along for the ride - the choices were "useful, distracting or neutral" - and not one person answered "distracting" - about three-quarters were neutral and one-quarter found the perspective useful.

A second set of questions probed more deeply about how readers relate to the column. About half prefer the digest to other content on the site, a bit less than half like it the same as other content on the site, and a sliver like it less than other SA content. I also asked readers to rank specific coverage areas we address on this forum. The top vote getter was retirement-related issues (it was for that reason alone that I covered that area yesterday); second was personal finance, third economics, followed by advisor-specific wealth management issues, then industry news or book reviews, and finally advisor-specific practice management.

I also asked three open-ended questions, one about specific items readers want to see covered here. I got 54 responses to the first of those questions and I want readers to know that I intend to go over that list carefully and, to the extent I am able, will look into writing about those subjects.

A second free-form question asked for recommended changes. The overwhelming response here was to keep on keeping on. People liked the current format, which is pleasing. I will certainly remain alert to opportunities for improvement.

A third very open-ended question sought any kind of feedback the reader might generate on his own. I value all kinds of feedback, both negative and positive. Most of these answers were expressions of encouragement, for which I am grateful. I also heard and noted your criticisms. (There are about 150 comments in all, and each unique, which is why I am not quoting them here.) Many thanks again to all of you - I hope to continue to earn your readership.


Please share your thoughts on this in our comments section. Meanwhile, below please find links to other advisor-related content on today's Seeking Alpha.

  • Roger Nusbaum reviews John Hussman's 64% decline forecast .
  • Rob Marstrand: What did we learn in 2017 ?
  • Ron Surz: Will 2018 be more of the same?
  • Janus Henderson Investors provides a Brexit update.

For more content geared to FAs, visit the Financial Advisor Center .

See also Applied Opto: Income Idea on

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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