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Retirement Planning, Not Social Security or LTC, Dominates Advisors’ Client Discussions

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Retirement planning is the No. 1 topic of discussion between advisors and their clients, according to research released by the Insured Retirement Institute. IRI found that investors were asking for help with retirement planning more often than other topics like investing, taxes or estate planning.

IRI surveyed 800 investors with at least $25,000 in investable assets. This data is part of an early release; full results are expected in May.

Nearly 90% of respondents said they talk about retirement planning with their advisor. Of those, the majority have focused on specifics like the level of savings needed (83%) and the age at which they’ll retire (80%). Broader issues are less common, with just two-thirds saying they talk about where they will live in retirement. Less than 60% said they talk about long-term care needs with their advisor and only 41% said they discuss Social Security claiming strategies.

Although 40% of respondents said they talk about tax planning with their advisor, 89% said tax deferral is an important feature in choosing a retirement product.

Cathy Weatherford, president and CEO of IRI, noted that investors don’t have a good grip on specific investment products. “When we measured understanding of various financial products, not once did a majority of investors indicate that they had comprehensive knowledge about the product in question,” she said in a statement. “Perhaps due to this knowledge gap, we found nearly two-thirds of respondents said they invest through a broker or financial planner.”

For those who aren’t using an advisor, it’s not because they don’t trust them or think they’re too expensive. More than 70% said they prefer to invest on their own or are getting advice from a spouse or relative. Just 16% said they didn’t trust financial advisors, and only 21% said professional advice was too expensive.

Advisors who have been reluctant to interact with their clients over social media can take heart in the fact that most respondents preferred personal interactions. Almost 90% said they were satisfied with in-person meetings, and 80% said they were happy with a phone call.