Emerging Industry Overview: Financial Planning Services

Industry Snapshot

Financial planning is a holistic approach to personal financial management that has flourished since the mid-1980s. Rising levels of wealth and consumer sophistication about finances have fueled the upswing, as has deregulation of the financial services industry. Experts predict the pace of growth will remain brisk, and even increase, as baby boomers near retirement and as large institutions target planning services at middle and lower income people.

The financial planning industry has experienced a number of significant trends. These included millions of baby boomers who were not adequately prepared for retirement, Social Security benefits that were expected to run out of funding by 2042, a volatile stock market, and skyrocketing health care costs. Perhaps most significantly, the responsibility for retirement planning was rapidly shifting to the individual and away from employers. This boded well for financial planners, who were faced with the difficult task of helping people from a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds make difficult choices about an uncertain future.