Saving & Investment : a guide to personal financial advising; the process and outcome
The ongoing global recession has made the economy widely discussed in recent months. As individuals, who are part of, and affected by what is happening in the global economy, we found it interesting to investigate the current financial situation on a more individual and personal level. We intended to find out more about personal financial advising, how it is conducted and what the financial advisors suggest we do with our money today. Is it best to stick the money under the mattress or has the current financial situation brought on a perfect opportunity invest money in the financial markets?
We hope to find patterns on how financial advisors recommend that we save and invest our money today. Also, we want to investigate what these recommendations are based on and how these financial advisors work to present these advices. We intend to look for similarities within the branch in the advising process, as well as the outcome of the process in order to create guidelines for saving and investment.
We intended to answer these questions by conducting a qualitative study where we interviewed six financial advisors at three different financial institutions. We take on a constructionist ontological position assuming that reality is constructed by the perception of social actors. Furthermore, we have taken an interpretivistic epistemological stance that view knowledge based on interpretations, and try to understand the world from the research subjects' point of view.
We utilized a number of theories in order to support and build our study. These theories were used in order to help us construct and conduct our collection methods of primary data, and further used to aid us in analyzing the interview findings.
Analyzing the empirical results we learned that the basis in the financial advising process is fairly standardized within the branch. First, personal and financial information is gathered in order to assess the client's unique situation, followed by the creation of a risk profile, which is very important according to the respondents. Even though the study shows that there are different methods to collect this information and create these profiles, the patterns show that all institutions work around the same concept, that every client is an individual that needs to be assessed as unique. We also learned that the financial crisis have not had a significant impact on the financial advising itself, but rather in the attitudes of the clients. Furthermore, the increased level of documentation due to the new laws is the only evident change, with minor signs of an increased protection for both the advisor and the client. Finally, conclusions about saving and investment today were drawn by finding patterns and common denominators between the respondents advices for the individual profiles created for this study.
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