As the economy continues to recover slowly, Americans of all ages and demographics are expressing their concerns about their futures.

New research shows that while labor growth and the rising cost of living remain in the back of Americans’ minds, concerns over retirement and healthcare are the most pressing, and for many households, their primary source of concern and stress. A Harris Poll shows 74 percent of consumers are fearful that they will not have enough money in savings to carry them through retirement.

Another 73 percent said high healthcare costs during retirement are a core issue. Further, 71 percent of site unexpected healthcare costs are a source of anxiety. The study showed that there were yet still a number of other financial issues that weighed on Americans’ minds, such as putting their children through college or saving for life goals.

A missed opportunity

The authors of the study noted that the financial services industry has largely missed out on the opportunity to offer more products and services that cater to the individual and changing needs of Americans.

Most Americans consider investing in the stock market or low-risk accounts to be the most popular and effective strategy for building wealth over the course of their lives.

While studies from finance marketing agencies show that many Americans who rely on advisors are satisfied with their guidance, a large percentage of the population manages their investments on their own. Further still, a portion of these investors proceed without a strategy, and as a result, have lost thousands of dollars in the process.

A study conducted by the Consumer Federation of America reveals that a large segment of Americans choose to “wing it” when it comes to making large financial decisions, and many of these consumers have faced negative consequences as a result. For example, 67 percent of respondents said they have made at least one “really bad financial decision,” the consequences of which cost the average family $23,000. Despite the room for significant errors, only 45 percent reported turning to an investment advisor for assistance making big decisions. Another 15 percent said they rely on information from the internet or television to make decisions, and a staggering 17 percent said they “wouldn’t seek any information or advice, and just make a decision.”

The study’s authors noted their shock at the willingness of investors, many of whom are struggling to overcome the financial effects of the economic downturn, to avoid seeking professional advice when building their portfolios or planning for retirement. “A strikingly high percentage of respondents in our survey said they wouldn’t consult any information at all in making a decision,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.

Cross-selling and lifestage marketing

In addition to Americans not working with advisors, at the cost of their future, financial services companies are missing the mark in two areas: 1) cross selling product and services and 2.) customizing products based on lifestage. David Krane, senior vice president of Harris Interactive, noted that financial marketing agencies advertising insurance, investments and other wealth-building vehicles should be thinking through their strategy for cross-selling opportunities. Companies that figure out how to take advantage of this missed opportunity are likely to be those that will rebound from the trust disadvantage that the industry faces and grow their businesses.

It can also be helpful for companies to conduct a range of market research that decipher customers’ needs based on age, income, marital status and other factors. This type of market data may make it easier for companies to better market to particular and niche demographics.

As many Americans continue to face precarious financial positions, many investment advisors are revamping their marketing strategies to reach out to more consumers. More than ever, these strategies are geared toward nearly all demographics, because each are facing their own financial struggles.

For example, studies show that baby boomers are in danger of outliving their savings, while middle-aged families are in the midst of making large financial decisions about housing and retirement. Further still, young adults and recent graduates faced with student loans and limited employment opportunities may seek out financial advice as a resource for growing their wealth and overcoming limited financial opportunities.

The Lift Factor is the premier marketing resource and leader in the healthcare, insurance and financial services industries, applying our expertise to investment and insurance clients. With keen insight into the various generations you may be talking to- from millennials to boomers, and insight into the most effective lead-generation tactics, we can help you speak to your audience in the correct voice. TLF also has expertise marketing to multi-level sales distribution channels.