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Trust plays an important role in financial decision-making, particularly regarding financial advice. In fact, investors cite "trust" as the most important determinant in seeking a financial service professional for advice (Hung et al., 2010). In this paper, we explore the relationships between financial trust and behaviors, attitudes, knowledge and preferences related to utilizing professional financial advice. Using survey and experiment data from the RAND-USC American Life Panel, we find that financial trust is correlated with advice usage and likelihood of seeking advisory services. Analysis of the experiment shows that trust is an important predictor of who chooses to receive advice, even after controlling for demographic characteristics and financial literacy. However, providing unsolicited advice has little impact on behavior, even for individuals with high levels of trust.

This paper series made possible by the RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the RAND Population Research Center.

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