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Covid-19 Prompts Indians To Seek Professional Financial Advice: Scripbox Financial Freedom Survey

The importance of having a financial plan in place to meet long-term life goals emerges both as a priority and a regret.

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‘Enough is enough’ and it’s time to undo passive financial planning and embrace effective action, is the state of mind of Indians, reveals findings of Scripbox’s Financial Freedom Survey now in its third year. Conducted every year ahead of Independence Day, Scripbox’s survey seeks to measure the financial outlook in general and personal financial preparedness of Indians in being able to achieve ‘independence’ from financial worries.

One in every three Indians say that they will seek professional financial advice, and prioritise building a financial plan that helps to achieve long term life goals. One in every two say they will do so by going to a digital platform to achieve better results with personal wealth management. The survey also reveals greater maturity in investing habits, with a majority of survey respondents having stayed invested despite market volatility during the pandemic.  

“The pandemic has impacted people very differently, depending on their personal circumstances. That said, the common lesson has been that circumstances can change very rapidly with little warning. It has spurred people to make the quantum leap from ‘the thing I want to do or should be doing’ and ‘actually doing it’, especially when it comes to taking charge of their financial future”, said Atul Shinghal, Founder & CEO of Scripbox.

41 percent of survey respondents confirm that their most important financial goal right now is to build a financial plan. 31 percent say they will prioritise saving for retirement. The top financial goal last year was to build an emergency corpus.

The importance of having a financial plan in place to meet long-term life goals emerges both as a priority and a regret. More than 30 percent survey respondents cited this to be their top most investment mistake followed by not saving enough (25 percent). 

51 percent of all survey respondents say they would turn to a digital investment platform while 41 percent say that they will also consult a personal financial advisor to help them take effective control of their finances and build discipline in financial matters. Compared to last year’s survey, only 37 percent respondents said they would prioritise growing their wealth by using a digital investment platform. 47 percent of survey respondents had said that they would prefer to do this on their own or consult their friends and family. 

Survey respondents through their actions during the pandemic exhibit a higher degree of maturity in investing habits. 60 percent respondents say they continued to stay invested while 38 percent of these said they also increased their investments irrespective of market volatility during the pandemic. Mutual funds continue to be the most preferred financial instrument to invest in, followed by stocks and fixed deposits. 

Conceptually, Indians understand the concept of financial freedom and this has been evident since the first survey conducted by Scripbox in 2019. Compared to the last two years where the confidence to achieve this was low, this year the confidence is palpably higher. 25 percent say that they are confident about achieving financial freedom while 48 percent mention that they are unsure and 26 percent say they simply do not know how. In last year’s survey, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they were unsure of their plan to manage their personal finances effectively. The pandemic has spurred the urgency to learn and take appropriate action which is a key determinant of confidence. 

This confidence permeates other aspects too. 62 percent of Indians exhibit confidence in the recovery of the economy post Covid-19 compared to 44 percent respondents last year. Further to overcoming the initial shock and fear of a systemic meltdown that has remained largely unfulfilled, explains the confidence in the economic recovery, just as having lived through the pandemic for 15+ months now, explains why Indians have fast tracked their investments and financial actions, to be better prepared in the future. 

“There are three key tenets to growing wealth. The first is to save regularly, then to invest that saving with a purpose on the basis of a plan, and monitor progress against that plan systematically. This journey is best navigated with the help of an expert by your side. This year’s survey clearly indicates that this is what Indians are seeking, someone to help them with their financial planning. Scripbox’s mission is to help investors do more with their money so that they can truly achieve independence from financial worries. With our personalised approach and curated solutions - a blend of ‘high tech’ with ‘high touch’, we are ideally placed to help people meet their financial goals at different life stages”, said Atul Shinghal.

Methodology

Scripbox polled 1000+ adults in an all India survey. The majority of respondents, 89 percent, are in the age bracket of 34-55 years. 


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