SOURCE: Matters at Hand

September 17, 2008 12:04 ET

Quantitative Research Study Finds Most Americans Need Life-Planning and Management Education

MarketLab Research Online Survey Sponsored by Matters at Hand Finds That Most Middle-Class and Wealthy Americans Don't Know Enough to Protect Their Assets, Health, Estate and Families

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - September 17, 2008) - In a nationwide research study polling men and women whose household income exceeded $100,000 annually, Matters at Hand™ found that most respondents feel they need to get their wealth and life-planning affairs in order.

"Our market research survey exposed critical findings indicating that most Americans realize they don't know enough to ask the right questions to get the right products from the right advisors," said Camille Jayne, Matters at Hand founder. "Many don't even realize that their affairs are out of whack."

Matters at Hand, a company that facilitates wealth-management advisory services and provides educational tools, retained MarketLab Research to conduct the online survey in May 2008 polling 550 Americans between the ages of 25 and 70. Among the findings, Jayne said the respondents believe they don't know enough to manage their life-planning matters.

"Most sleep comfortably because they think, 'I have a trust. I have life and property/casualty insurance. I file my taxes. I have good advisors. My life-planning must be in good shape.' Unfortunately, many of these sound sleepers should be tossing and turning," Jayne said.

People who have children in the household or are soon to be empty nesters, as well as those planning for retirement were the two key groups who felt they needed the most help. In addition, the study revealed three other trends:

Don't Let the Government Be Your Biggest Charity

Finding No. 1: 76 percent of the respondents aged 35 to 65 years old believe they need to become better informed and educated on estate planning, investment options, insurance, taxes and more. 75 percent of people do not have the correct plans in place for themselves or for their families.

Taking Charge is Your Job

Finding No. 2: 60 percent of people want to better understand what different professional advisors should do for them and know what questions to ask them. An informed consumer is more apt to call and meet with advisors to get these affairs in order. Although advisors excel in their areas of expertise, they can't be expected to be experts in all areas or to call their clients to learn what has changed in their lives.

"It's your job to inform them!" Jayne said.

More Adults Program Their Remote Control than Get Control of Their Affairs

Finding No. 3: 65 percent of those surveyed want to get more in control or organized when it comes to these issues, but they don't feel they have the right tools to get started.

"There is an untapped market to provide sophisticated investors with information on how to get started and stay organized," Jayne said.

Confidence Comes in a Kit™

"Are you part of the 25 percent of folks who have everything in the right shape or are you part of the 75 percent whose affairs might need some adjustments?" Jayne asks. "Even more alarming, are you someone who has not even gotten started? Don't gamble with your assets or retirement security or rely on having good health and family harmony forever."

In response to the quantitative research revealing the urgent need to educate and organize people, Matters at Hand developed the What You Need to Know Kit™ to help educate the sophisticated layperson and provide a concise overview of all life-planning matters.

The Kit is an all-in-one educational resource guide and organizational tool that simplifies the complexities of all areas of wealth management -- from estate planning, investment options, life, disability and long-term care insurance, taxes and property/casualty insurance to budgeting and more.

"I wanted to order the What You Need to Know Kit to make sure I understood what I had, and more importantly, what else I need to know and do," said Lucy Dunn, chief executive officer, Orange County Business Council. "I am so glad I did. I want to tell my friends so they can sleep better at night, too."

Consumers and wealth-management advisors can order the "What You Need To Know Kit" online at On the Matters at Hand Web site, visitors also will find links to Jayne's blog and a video series discussing how to use the Kit.

About Matters at Hand

Matters at Hand, founded in 2004, helps individuals get their personal wealth management affairs in shape. Matters at Hand facilitators gather and review clients' investment, insurance, tax and estate planning documents, and then work with clients and their advisors to go forward. As a neutral third party, Matters at Hand has gained a stellar reputation in the community as a trusted team member -- both for clients and professional advisors. Matters at Hand gives a percentage of net profits to one charity each year, with Girls Inc. being the 2008 selected charity.

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