Clicking our heels: Are more of us going online for money tips?
There was once a time where the only place to get financial advice from an expert was at the local branch of a bank or building society. However, as technology has become more portable, accessible, affordable and more sophisticated, many people are looking to other sources for advice on what to do with their hard-earned cash.
Savers, house-hunters and borrowers might look to financial advice columns in newspapers and magazines, to any friends or relatives who have recently made big decisions about their money or, in increasing numbers, the web. Online financial advice has proved to be easy to access via computers, tablets and smartphones, but is it favoured more than the old-school bank branch?
Out with the old…
One of the most intriguing results of a recent Financial advice survey found that over 55% of respondents still go to their bank or building society for advice on all things money, but 64% said that they turn to money forums such as Money Saving Expert. Just over 47% said that they went to family members for the same problems.
Despite the admission that more people go to the web than to the high street for tips on how to handle their money, around three quarters of those surveyed said that the way in which they seek advice hasn’t changed over the course of two years. Of those who have changed how they receive financial tips, the most common reason cited was a lack of trust in the banking sector.
Receiving financial advice has never been easier, but this shift seems to have come at the expense of old-fashioned banks and building societies, although they remain best placed to offer advice on certain products. Popping into a branch during weekdays and Saturdays and arranging an appointment can still prove useful when enquiring about a mortgage, loan or savings account.
Meanwhile, when advice is needed out-of-hours, heading online is seen as the most readily-available solution. It doesn’t tend to take too long, while it can be done on the move without too many distractions. However, many banks and building societies do run helplines for customers who may have a few queries about money jargon and securing their financial future.
So it seems that however you choose to find advice these days, the sheer range of resources means that people are never too far away from advice when they need help in understanding their money, which is surely a good thing.
The future is bright
Yes banks and building societies do still have their place and they will likely remain the first port of call for those people who don’t yet feel completely confident in their ability to choose the right financial product for their needs. As the volume of online financial resources grows however, more and more people will feel empowered in their ability to make shrewd financial decisions and understand the technical jargon, opening up a whole new front in people’s fight to take control full control of their financial situation.