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Surviving in financial advice deserts: limited access to financial advice and retirement planning behavior

Swarn Chatterjee (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)
Lu Fan (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 13 October 2022

Issue publication date: 24 January 2023




This study introduces the concept of financial advice deserts (FADs), including financial advice received from personal financial advisors (PFAs) and Certified Financial Planners™ (CFP professionals) and investigates the association between living in these FAD states and the retirement planning activities of individuals.


This study uses merged data gathered from multiple sources including (1) available state-level information on CFP professionals from the CFP board website, (2) state-level information on PFAs from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and (3) individual levels of retirement planning behavior and other personal characteristics from the 2018 FINRA National Financial Capability Study. Using web data extraction tools and logistic regression analyses, this study examines the association between a series of individual retirement planning activities and living in the FAD states.


The study found that living in the FAD states was negatively associated with both having retirement accounts and contributing regularly to retirement accounts. Overall, the findings of this study underscore the need for providing greater access to financial advice and improving financial literacy among financially marginalized populations who are residing in FAD states in the United States of America.


This study makes unique contributions to the literature by raising the issue of geographic inequality in terms of access to financial advice and introducing the innovative notion of FADs. The findings provide fresh insights into the understanding of retirement planning and preparedness from the perspective of state-level inequality of financial advice through PFAs and CFP professionals, thereby expanding the previous knowledge that emphasizes only individual- and household-level differences. Significant implications for public policies and practitioners are also discussed.



Chatterjee, S. and Fan, L. (2023), "Surviving in financial advice deserts: limited access to financial advice and retirement planning behavior", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 70-106.



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