Older Americans’ confidence in their financial preparations for retirement continued to decline this year––a decline that is driven by fear, according to speakers at a press briefing today hosted by the Insured Retirement Institute that kicked off National Retirement Planning Week.

Confidence in financial preparations for retirement dropped to 37 percent this year from 44 percent in 2011, the first year IRI did a Retirement Confidence survey. The press conference highlighted the study, which also showed 61 percent of Baby Boomers do not see their financial situation improving in the next five years.

The survey included 802 Americans between 50 and 66 years of age.

The lack of investor confidence is driven by fear of risk, fear of volatility of both interest rates and the market, and fear of loss, says Bruce Ferris, head of sales and distribution for Prudential Annuities and a member of the IRI board of directors.

That fear created by the 2008 financial crisis causes some bad financial behavior by investors who are afraid to stick to their retirement plans, says Ferris. This bad behavior is exemplified by the $550 billion that was pulled out of equities since then and the $2.6 trillion that is sitting in cash instead of being invested, Ferris says.

The good news is that those investors working with financial advisors are much more confident in their retirement plans than those doing it on their own. For those working with an advisor, 48 percent are very or extremely confident in their financial planning, compared to only 28 percent of those not working with an advisor.

Likewise, 71 percent of baby boomers working with an advisor have set savings goals and 94 percent have retirement savings, compared to 34 percent and 64 percent respectively for those not working with an advisor.

The number of boomers who anticipate work to be a source of income during retirement rose 12 percent during the past two years to 79 percent. The percent that expect to retire at age 70 or later rose from 11 percent to 18 percent since 2011.

Representatives of the retirement divisions of various financial companies stressed that advisors need to educate their clients about the need for retirement planning and need to take a holistic approach to financial planning.

For instance, planning for long-term care has to be one of the issues taken into consideration in retirement planning, says John Carter, president of retirement plans at Nationwide Financial and a member of the IRI board of directors.