Publications

- October 1, 2016; Vol. 3, Number 10

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Curse of Knowledge: Why good clients ignore great advice from their financial advisers

by Moira Somers

Stick around this life long enough, and you will become aware of a painful truth about the human condition: We often don’t do the things we ought to be doing for our own well-being. Researchers use the term “non-adherence” to describe this lack of follow-through when it comes to advice.

THE COMPLEXITY BARRIER

Many factors contribute to financial non-adherence. Some of these are well beyond the control of the professional, whereas others fall solidly within the domain of what you can influence or direct. But one of the major determinants of non-adherence is under your control — namely, advice complexity.

In my work as a financial psychologist, I frequently encounter people who are in serious need of investment or insurance advice but who refuse to darken the door of a financial professional. The number one reason they cite? “I hate those meetings. I end up feeling stupid. And I never know whether they’re exploiting my stupidity to sel

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