Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



The growing complexity of investment decision-making has increased the potential value of advice from a financial professional. Past research provides only a very partial answer to the question of whether professional financial advice leads to better investment practices and results. In this chapter, we review findings in the existing research literature, detail ‘best practice’ research approaches for drawing confident conclusions regarding causal influences, and provide an example of such an approach using data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances. Our results suggest that the benefits of financial advice may be overstated in the absence of methodological rigor.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2013 publication: The Market for Retirement Financial Advice.

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2012 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 28 June 2019