The Principal Finds Improving Retirement Confidence Levels

Since the economic downturn began, more retirees are seeking professional financial help to assist in managing their money, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index.

Thirty-four percent of retirees have an adviser who either manages their money or helps them manage their money on their own, up from 25% last year. Almost two-thirds of retirees (63%) are still managing their retirement money on their own, down from 76% last year.

The Principal Financial Well-Being Index also found more workers reported that their retirement balances are rising, or at least no longer declining. According to the survey findings, the percentage of workers who said their balance is the same or higher than it was on January 1 has doubled from last quarter (18% verse 9%). The percentage of workers who feel it will take less than two years to recover has increased to 16% from 11% last quarter.

Most workers (83%) said they do not have a plan for the transition to retirement, but of those workers who do have a plan, approximately four in 10 (43%) have an actual written plan.

Among retirees, 73% said they would start learning more about spending and investing in retirement more than 10 years before retirement if they could do it over again. One-tenth indicated they did not start thinking seriously about how to manage their spending and investments in retirement until they were retiring.

The Principal Financial Well-Being Index, fielded by Harris Interactive, surveys retired Americans and American workers at businesses with 10 to 1,000 employees. More information about the quarterly survey is available at