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Research

Higher Adviser Use Increases Focus on Retirement

Using a financial adviser helps bring more focus to the need to save for retirement, a survey found.

Retirement tops the list of savings objectives among respondents to a survey from MassMutual and conducted by Brightwork Partners. Overall, "saving enough for retirement" surpassed "keeping up with monthly expenses" as the biggest financial worry—up significantly to 24% from 18% in 2011. It was also cited as a major savings objective by 63% of participants, 21 points higher than the second most-cited objective of "paying down debt."

Participants in general are saving more, with the average retirement savings rate among those surveyed at 10.5%, up from 9% two years ago.

Only 28% of respondents currently have, or have had in the past five years, a relationship with a personal financial adviser. However, many more men have one (31%) compared to women (24%), and the gender difference has increased since 2011 when 30% of men had an adviser versus 27% of women. Retirement as a major savings objective rated 20 points higher among participants with a professional financial adviser than for those without one—77% versus 57%.

Not only are men more likely to have a professional adviser, they are more confident than women in virtually every aspect of retirement planning and defined contribution (DC) investment decisions. Higher adviser use may contribute to the fact that men pay more attention than do women to fund performance (30% vs. 22%), income in retirement (26% vs. 18%) and asset allocation (25% vs. 15%).

Rebecca Moore editors@plansponsor.com