More American workers are looking for advice about saving for retirement this year than in 2012, but they don't know where to turn, a new survey shows.
The number of Americans seeking advice on retirement in 2013 is 11 percentage points higher than last year, according to TIAA-CREF's second annual Financial Advice Survey, which included responses from 1,000 Americans over 18.
About half of respondents, however, said that they don't know what sources are best to use for financial advice and that it can be hard to know whom to trust.
David Ray, managing director and head of institutional retirement plan sales at TIAA-CREF, said some providers can be hesitant to shell out retirement planning tips, since there is a fine line to walk between giving guidance and giving advice, the latter of which holds the adviser fiduciarily accountable.
Advice, however, provides more opportunities for clients to take action.
“If you give advice, they're far more likely to act on it than just giving guidance,” Mr. Ray said. “You can get guidance pretty much from anywhere. Many providers are not willing to step out on the limb of advice.”
As Baby Boomers grow older, more working Americans are moving away from accumulating retirement savings and beginning to use them as income, causing the need for retirement advice to be in greater demand, he said.
That interest is something Nick Giacoumakis, president of New England Investment and Retirement Group, Inc., has noticed at his retirement planning firm in North Andover, Mass.
The aging population and bull market have caused more people to walk through the door during the past few years, he said. People's investments are gaining in value and that makes them become more sensitive to keeping them.
“We have seen an uptick in business because of that factor,” Mr. Giacoumakis said, whose firm manages close to $600 million in assets for about 1,000 families. “When you open up your 401(k) statement and this is the highest it's ever been, people tend to be in a great mood.”
TIAA-CREF's study found that the youngest generation of working Americans are the least prepared for retirement. Among those 18 to 34, 43% said that they lack adequate retirement planning information.
The number is nearly triple that of the 15% or less of respondents in all other age groups who said that they feel unprepared for retirement planning.
Those ages 55 to 65 reported the most confidence about their nest eggs, with 87% of respondents reporting that they feel informed about retirement planning and more than half saying that the financial advice that they have received has spurred them to save more.
Mr. Giacoumakis said the fastest-growing demographic at his firm is 55 to 65.
Younger workers often don't have enough in savings to think about retirement, he said.
“We don't do much work with the 18-to-34 age range because people at that age are looking at paying off student loans and just entering the workforce,” Mr. Giacoumakis said.
The TIAA-CREF study cited cost, time and convenience as some of the key factors in workers' financial advice decisions.
Only about a third of those surveyed said that they take advantage of financial advice offered through their employers.
TIAA-CREF cited this as an opportunity for companies to give their workers access to someone on the job who can help them with retirement planning and mapping a financial strategy.
Overall, Mr. Giacoumakis recommends a straightforward strategy for approaching retirement planning.
“Save more than you spend, as simple as that sounds,” he said.