Retirement Planning: A Changing Dynamic. Investors Turn to Advisors for Help

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1 Retirement Planning: A Changing Dynamic Investors Turn to Advisors for Help August 2014

2 About the Insured Retirement Institute: The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading association for the retirement income industry. IRI proudly leads a national consumer coalition of more than 30 organizations, and is the only association that represents the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies. IRI members are the major insurers, asset managers, broker-dealers/distributors, and 150,000 financial professionals. As a not-for-profit organization, IRI provides an objective forum for communication and education, and advocates for the sustainable retirement solutions Americans need to help achieve a secure and dignified retirement. Learn more at IRI All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced in any form or used for any purpose other than educational without the express written consent of IRI.

3 OVERVIEW A recent survey of 800 investors reveals positive trends in saving and working with financial professionals, but knowledge gaps about investments are a cause for concern. Nearly three in four (72%) investors have saved at least $250,000 for retirement Despite significant savings, investors lack deep knowledge regarding financial products 62% of investors save through a broker or financial planner Investors rely more on the recommendation of their advisors to select investments than any other factor Nearly four in 10 investors own annuities People are living longer, and changing jobs more frequently. Even if they stay with the same company, they are less likely than they once were to be covered by a traditional pension, and they are worried about the future of Social Security. As a result, Americans are increasingly responsible for their own retirement income. What s more, all indications are that this trend will only intensify in the years ahead putting more pressure on retirees to be financially self-reliant. How will individuals cope with the added burden, given that many are not savvy about investing? This changing and compelling dynamic prompted the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) to take a fresh look at investor attitudes about retirement. In a survey conducted in February 2014, 800 people with at least $25,000 in investable assets were asked about investing, their current retirement planning, and their thoughts about retirement. KEY FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS As a group, investors earn more and are more highly educated than the broader population. In contrast to the broader population, most investors have fairly significant savings and investable assets: nearly half have $500,000 saved and 87% have at least $100,000 in investable assets. Investors are saving for retirement and trying to determine how much they will need to live comfortably in retirement. For the most part, investors lack deep knowledge about financial products. Many invest through a broker or financial planner, but there is an opportunity for more to do so considering the need for professional help as indicated by low investment knowledge. Investors are most familiar with mutual funds and stocks, which also are the most popular investments. This suggests the more product knowledge investors have, the more likely they will select the product. Tax deferral is an important investment trait to nine in 10 investors. The majority of investors have consulted a financial planner and are most apt to discuss retirement planning and investing. Almost all investors working with a financial professional would be likely to recommend their financial planner to a friend or relative, with half being highly likely to recommend their planner. By far, the main reason investors do not use a financial planner is they do it themselves. Most investors are confident about retirement but are concerned about medical and long-term care expenses. 4 Insured Retirement Institute

4 SAVE FOR RETIREMENT! MESSAGE RECEIVED BY INVESTORS For years, pundits, prognosticators, and employers have urged American workers to take charge of their future financial security. The classic three-legged stool of retirement income Social Security, pensions, and savings is wobbly. Defined benefit plans in the private sector are disappearing, people are uncertain about the future of Social Security, and they are not saving enough. A 2014 IRI study found that only 33% of Baby Boomers are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout all their retirement years. 1 And an IRI report on Generation X found that only 65% of Gen-X workers have money saved for retirement, at a time when saving for retirement is more important than ever. 2 All of which point to the importance of personal savings. In contrast to the broader population, investors surveyed appear to have heard the message. Virtually all have saved for retirement, and seven in 10 added to their savings in the previous 12 months. Nearly three-quarters of investors (72%) have tried to figure out how much money they need to save for a comfortable retirement. As the chart below shows, nearly three in four investors (72%) have saved at least $250,000 for retirement, nearly half (45%) have at least $500,000 saved, and 16% have accumulated at least $1 million. These atypically high savings amounts are explained by the financial profile of the investors surveyed: they are a wealthy group with more than half (56%) having annual incomes of $100,000 or more; 86% have a net worth exclusive of their primary residence of $250,000 or more and 29% have a net worth of at least $1 million; and 87% have investable assets of $100,000 or more with 45% having at least $500,000 in investable assets and 17% having at least $1 million. In addition, nearly eight in 10 (78%) have a college degree, with four-year degrees or post-graduate study accounting for nearly half of these (47%). How Much Have You Saved for Retirement? 16% 26% $0-$249,999 $250,000-$499,999 29% 27% $500,000-$999,999 At least $1 million INVESTORS LACK KNOWLEDGE, RELY ON ADVISORS Although they have been saving for retirement, investors have not acquired a thorough understanding of investment products along the way. When asked about each of eight different products, not once did a majority indicate that they were highly knowledgeable about it. This finding reinforces conventional wisdom that suggests investors lack the in-depth product knowledge necessary to make sound financial decisions that could help them achieve a comfortable retirement. To address this unsettling reality, self-directed retirement plan providers increasingly build automatic features into their plans such as auto-enrollment and target-date funds to help plan participants. Retirement Planning a Changing Dynamic: Investors Turn to Advisors for Help 5

5 Perhaps to compensate for their lack of knowledge, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they invest through a broker or financial planner. Even more noteworthy, these investors rely on the advice they receive, with nearly three in 10 saying their advisor s recommendation is the top reason for selecting an investment. These findings demonstrate the value of financial advice and the overall impact advisors have on retirement readiness in America. Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and stocks are widely owned. A little more than half of those surveyed (54%) are invested in bonds and almost four in 10 (38%) own annuities. Tax deferral, critical to both retirement saving and postretirement income and investment strategies, is an important feature when selecting a retirement investment for nearly nine in 10 investors, with 35% saying it is very important. An unusually high number nearly two-thirds rebalance their portfolios at least once a year. How Knowledgeable Are You About Financial Products? (Percentage of Investors Who are Extremely/Very Knowledgeable) 46% 46% Stocks Mutual Funds 28% 25% 21% 17% 17% 17% Bonds Long-term care insurance Fixed annuities ETFs Target date funds Variable annuities Investors are not well-versed when it comes to investments and financial products. How Do You Invest Your Money? 62% 54% 53% Broker/ financial planner Retirement plan Directly (myself) The most typical way to invest is through a broker or financial planner. More than half of those surveyed invest through a retirement plan and/or on their own. These findings suggest that while many are using financial planners, there is an opportunity for even more investors to do so, especially considering the need for professional help as indicated by low product knowledge. 6 Insured Retirement Institute

6 How Do You Choose an Investment? Financial advisor recommendation Past performance Rate of return Safety of principal Guaranteed monthly income Other Not sure 28% 26% 25% 10% 4% 5% 2% More than any other factor, investors rely on their financial advisor s recommendation when selecting an investment. Past performance and rate of return are also relatively important to their decision, while safety of principal and guaranteed monthly income are far less influential. These findings suggest there is an opportunity for financial advisors to better educate appropriate clients about the benefits of guaranteed income products. What Investments Do You Currently Own? Mutual funds/etfs Stocks Bonds Annuities Alternative investments (REITs, etc.) 85% 84% 54% 38% 20% Stock options 18% Investors seem to select financial products they know best. They are most apt to own stocks and mutual funds, which are the investments in which they are most familiar. (See the chart, How Knowledgeable Are You About Financial Products?) These findings suggest financial planners would do well to educate their clients about unfamiliar products that may be useful in helping them achieve their investment goals. Retirement Planning a Changing Dynamic: Investors Turn to Advisors for Help 7

7 Is Tax Deferral Important? 2% 1% 9% 35% Very Important Somewhat important Not very important 54% Not at all important Don't know/refused Investors clearly appreciate the value of tax deferral when selecting an investment. How Often Do You Rebalance Your Investments? 2% 2% Multiple times a year 32% 34% Once a year Rarely Never 30% Don't know Most investors regularly rebalance their portfolios. Still about a third rarely do, and a few report that they never rebalance their portfolios. THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR RELATIONSHIP An unusually large percentage 3 of investors 62% have consulted a financial planner. This high number perhaps can be explained by the survey group s financial profile. Investors surveyed have relatively high income and net worth attributes that increase the likelihood of using a financial planner. 4 Research also shows that people with above-average risk tolerance are the most likely to use financial planners, while those with low risk tolerance are the least likely, suggesting some groups are underserved, such as those with low risk tolerance but high net worth or income. 5 For investors in IRI s study who had consulted a financial planner, the most common areas of discussion were retirement planning (88%) and investing (84%), perhaps no surprise considering that people increasingly have to depend on their own savings during retirement. Nearly seven in 10 investors (69%) said their financial planner had prepared a retirement plan for them, no doubt contributing to the group s high level of confidence about retirement. Earlier research by IRI found Baby Boomers planning for retirement with the help of a financial advisor were more than twice as likely to be highly confident about their retirement plans compared to those planning for retirement on their own. 6 8 Insured Retirement Institute

8 Retirement Planning Issues As far as helping their clients prepare for retirement, advisors are most often discussing the amount of savings needed (83%) and the related topic of intended retirement age (80%). To a lesser extent, they are talking about other issues that have a financial impact on retirement, such as lifestyle (66%) and long-term care planning (57%). Investors Prefer the Personal Touch Investors surveyed tend to have long-lasting partnerships with their financial planners, with almost two-thirds (62%) saying they have been using the same advisor for at least five years. And they are highly satisfied with their advisors. Almost all would be likely to recommend their financial planner to a friend of relative, with half being highly likely to recommend their planner. When it comes to satisfaction with various communication channels used by their advisors, investors rated in-person meetings at the top of the list (87%) followed closely by telephone (80%) and (77%). Newsletters also were popular, with 66% of investors satisfied with this form of communication. Social media came in last with only a 19% satisfaction level. These findings mirror how advisors most commonly communicate with their clients in other words, they most often meet face-to-face and least often use social media. Areas for Consultation with a Financial Planner 88% 84% Retirement planning Investing Taxes 40% 38% 37% Estate planning Insurance coverage 24% Budget and financial management Retirement Planning Issues Discussed 83% 80% Savings needed for retirement Retirement age 66% 57% 43% 41% Retirement lifestyle Long-term care planning Health care coverage Social Security cliaming strategies Retirement Planning a Changing Dynamic: Investors Turn to Advisors for Help 9

9 Length of Time with Financial Planner Likelihood of Recommending Financial Planner 22% 7% 8% 3% 29% 33% 1 year or less 1-2 years 2-5 years 5-10 years More then 10 years Don't know/refused 51% 4% 4% 7% 35% Highly Likely Likely Neutral Unlikely Highly Unlikely How Do Advisors Communicate? What Communications Do Investors Like? In-person meetings 93% In-person meetings 87% Telephone 92% Telephone 80% 84% 77% Newsletter 65% Newsletter 66% Social media 23% Social media 19% WHY INVESTORS DON T USE A FINANCIAL PLANNER Contrary to popular belief, cost and trust do not appear to be major obstacles to working with a financial professional. By far, the top reason given by investors who chose not to consult a financial advisor was that they preferred to do it themselves (60%). Another 11% said they received advice from a spouse or relative. Only 21% said cost was a factor and even fewer investors 16% cited trust as a reason. Reasons for Not Using an Advisor Do it themselves Too expensive Don't trust financial planners Have not found right financial planner Receive advice from spouse/relative Have not saved enough Not aware financial planning services were available Don't plan to retire Don't know 60% 21% 16% 16% 11% 7% 2% 2% 6% 10 Insured Retirement Institute

10 MOST INVESTORS CONFIDENT ABOUT RETIREMENT BUT CONCERNED ABOUT MEDICAL EXPENSES, LONG-TERM CARE Most investors were confident regarding their financial preparations for retirement (64%) and in having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years (59%). Fewer thought they would be able to pay for their children s higher education. Just over half felt they could cover their medical expenses in retirement. This concern appears to be valid considering recent estimates on the cost of health care in retirement. For instance, Fidelity estimates a couple retiring in 2013 could face $220,000 in health care expenses throughout their retirement. 7 Long-term care was a worry for many investors, with only four in 10 having any confidence that they could pay for long-term care for either themselves or for their parents. This is another understandable concern since in 2012 the average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home was estimated at $248 and the average monthly rate in an assisted living community was estimated at $3, More than half of investors thought it was important to leave an inheritance. As far as when they expect to retire, more than half (54%) said age 65 or older, with nearly one in five (18%) saying at age 70 or later; more than a third (36%) said before age 65; and one in 10 were uncertain when they would retire. Investors were fairly evenly split over their relocation and downsizing plans. Retirement Confidence (Percentage of Investors Who are Extremely/Very Confident) Doing a good job preparing financially for retirement 64% Having enough savings to live comfortably Having enough savings to cover medical cost Having enough savings to cover children's higher education Having enough savings to cover their own long-term care Having enough savings to cover their parents' long-term care 59% 55% 54% 41% 41% Importance of Leaving an Inheritance 18% 16% Very Somewhat 38% 28% Not very Not at all Retirement Planning a Changing Dynamic: Investors Turn to Advisors for Help 11

11 Retirement Age 23% 10% 60 or less % 65 13% % 15% 70+ Don t know Move to Another State Retirement Plans Downsizing Home 10% No 6% 47% 28% Yes 38% 29% Maybe 15% Don't know 27% CONCLUSION Out of necessity, people are becoming more responsible for their own retirement income, but they have not acquired the knowledge needed to save and invest wisely. This unsettling reality makes the role of financial planners increasing critical to the financial security of Americans in retirement, especially in an era when so much of the responsibility for that security rests with individuals. Advisors have a unique opportunity to reach and engage more investors, educating them about products and services that will be vital not only to their financial well-being, but also to their well-being as individuals which can only strengthen the advisor-client relationship and lead to more successful outcomes. 12 Insured Retirement Institute

12 Two Perspectives on Retirement Prepare and Stay Active In recent interviews, Alan H. Channing and Ron Sempetrean, offered their views on retirement issues. Both had participated in InvestmentNews annual Retirement Income Summit in Chicago in May Mr. Channing, 69, recently retired as CEO of Sinai Health System, and Mr. Sempetrean, 81, retired from a major insurance company several years ago and continues part-time as an independent insurance broker. On preparing for retirement Mr. Channing: A lot of people my age had parents who felt they didn t have anything because they grew up in the Depression, says Mr. Channing. That influenced me to start planning for retirement at a relatively young age through savings and tax-advantaged programs where I contributed the maximum amount allowed. He has had a financial planner and the counsel of banking professionals for several years who have advised him on a range of issues, including the benefits of an employerfunded annuity and long-term care insurance both of which he has. I know a lot of people worry about longterm care, but I bought insurance early enough so that the cost and benefits are good, which gives me a fair amount of comfort. Mr. Sempetrean: Raising six children, there was not a lot of money to put into retirement. Between pensions and other investments, I d say we were quasi-prepared for retirement. Also I didn t plan to completely retire I continued on as an independent insurance broker, says Mr. Sempetrean. Being caregiver for three elderly relatives from 1998 to 2010 changed his plans to move to Arizona and prompted him to make sure he and his wife had long-term care insurance. We don t want to be a burden to our children. Current issues Mr. Channing: Called a work nomad by his children because he was employed by several organizations throughout the years, Mr. Channing is now in the process of working with his financial advisors to potentially consolidate the various employer-sponsored retirement plans he s participated in during his career. They also are reviewing his portfolio to determine the best strategy to produce an income stream to fund his lifestyle in the years ahead. Feeling fortunate to have received several offers since announcing his retirement, he s also planning to continue working part time in the health services industry both for the added income and, more importantly, to stay relevant. Mr. Sempetrean: His daughter is a successful financial planner and has been advising him for several years. Even though he and his wife are well set financially, he plans to continue working for two more years. We re very comfortable now and could walk away from the business entirely, but I think it would be unfair to me. I m a people person and love to be out meeting people. I think it s added to my longevity. Advice for financial planners Mr. Channing: I m often asked by people my age how I m going to spend my time in retirement, he says. It s important to have not only an economic plan, but also a lifestyle plan that keeps you engaged whether that s a hobby, part-time work, volunteer work, or caring for your grandchildren. I think financial planners that have conversations with their clients about their lifestyle in retirement are providing a more robust service. Whether they do it themselves or have a referral network, it would build trust and confidence. Mr. Sempetrean: Financial planners should be aware of what their 70 to 75-year-old clients have been through. I m a Depression baby, born in I think we are more conservative in our attitude toward money. We are not risk-takers because the money we have accumulated came from really, really hard work and investment. Our parents didn t have a lot to leave us, but that dynamic has changed, he says. While our heirs will be the recipient of our wealth, I see young people today basing their financial plan on what they think they will be left by relatives. What happens if they don t receive that? Retirement Planning a Changing Dynamic: Investors Turn to Advisors for Help 13

13 SURVEY METHODOLOGY A total of 800 interviews were completed via the Internet with adults age 23 and older. The interviews were conducted between February 13 and February 19, 2014, and respondents were screened to include only those with current investments in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, annuities or alternative investments with total investable assets of at least $25,000. The margin of error for the sample of 800 is ±3.5%. ENDNOTES 1. Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2014, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), April The Retirement Readiness of Generation X, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), January The proportion of households using a financial planner increased from 21% in 1998 to 25% in 2007, according to 1998 to 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances datasets, as reported in The Demand for Financial Planning Services, Sherman D. Hanna, Ph.D, 2011, IARFC, appearing in the Journal of Personal Finance, Vol. 10, Issue Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2014, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), April Fidelity Benefits Consulting, Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs, MetLife, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, NY, NY. 14 Insured Retirement Institute

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