Many investors are being forced to adjust their retirement income plans after entering retirement to fund necessary expenses, according to a new research.

Sun Life Financial Inc., Wellesley Hills (TSX/NYSE), published this finding in a summary of results from a survey of close to 500 financial advisors across the country.

Seventy-seven percent of advisors responded that clients needed to adjust their retirement income plans to fund essential needs such as health care.

The poll found a significant gap between investors’ ambition to have a well-funded retirement and their knowledge of the best practices to accomplish that. The use of variable Annuities in retirement planning could help investors reach their goals more easily, the poll found.

Thirty-eight percent of advisors surveyed said that better education on variable annuities would boost investor involvement in the vehicle. An equal percentage of advisors found that making variable annuities easier to understand would help increase participation.

“We need to do a better job of demonstrating to investors that a guaranteed income solution represents an important risk-reward proposition for a retirement income portfolio,” Steve Deschenes, senior vice president of annuities, Sun Life, said in a statement. “Variable annuities, for example, do more than generate guaranteed income for life.”

Sun Life says it also co-sponsoring National Retirement Planning Week, April 11th to the 15th, to raise awareness of retirement income planning.

–Michael K. Stanley