Just over 60% of U.S. seniors at or over the age of 50 have not sought out professional retirement planning advice, despite data indicating a general lack of retirement preparedness among the older population according to a survey published this month by AARP and conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.
Using a sample size of about 1,000 U.S. adults, the survey found that roughly 621 respondents have never “used a financial professional to help plan for retirement.” Among the respondents who answered that way, 41% said that they either preferred to handle it themselves or to let a spouse take care of it if they were married.
Another 35% of respondents answered that they simply do not have enough retirement savings to justify seeking out professional retirement advice. In comparison, 30% said that affordability concerns prevented them from seeking such advice.
Roughly 20% of respondents also said they were unsure whether they could trust retirement professionals.
A recent development on paid retirement advice led to the creation of the survey, AARP detailed.
“On October 31, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new rule concerning professional financial advice related to retirement savings accounts, such as 401(k) plans and IRAs,” the group explained. “The proposal would clarify the circumstances during which financial advice related to retirement plans must be in an account holder’s best interest.”
Those who do enlist financial professionals for retirement advice believe in the stated goals described by both the Labor Department and the White House in October.
“The survey reveals that adults ages 50-plus use the advice they receive to make important financial decisions, and they not only expect that professional financial advice will be in their best interest but also believe that this should in fact be required,” AARP said of the results.
While the majority of respondents say they have never sought out professional retirement advice, nearly four in ten (38%) of respondents who have used such advice largely responded that they expect it will be in their best interest.
Roughly three in ten respondents (29%) also said they “expect to use a financial professional for this purpose within the next five years,” according to the survey results.