Saving for retirement in a tax-efficient manner ranked highest among financial advisors suggestions for their clients, according to a NAPFA survey released Thursday.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, whose members are fee-only advisors, surveyed 100 advisors about their top concerns for clients. They say Americans need to minimize taxes, save for emergencies and be prepared to live longer than their parents. Advisors recommend contributing the maximum amount of pre-tax income to 401(k)’s, utilizing tax-advantaged IRAs and staying abreast of tax-reduction opportunities provided by the IRS, according to the survey.
“We conducted this poll to raise consumer awareness about the urgency of preparing for retirement and the importance of having a comprehensive plan in place,” says NAPFA CEO Geof Brown. “We encourage consumers to act on these tips, which advisors rank as the most important steps to take five, 10 and 20 years out from retirement. When it comes to retirement planning, consumers need to remember that while the days are long, the years are short. ”
Mitigating the impact of a possible income disruption, whether due to job loss or disability, also ranks high with advisors.
“Clearly the 2008 recession has had a long-term effect on the psyches of both advisors and their clients. Combine that with lagging wages and the unpredictability of corporate America, and you have a large number of Americans who are still very concerned about job security,” says Brown.
In answer to an open-ended question, advisors say their clients' top concern is outliving their retirement. Americans’ increasing longevity is also a challenge for policy makers, say the advisors. When asked about the biggest policy issue facing America, advisors overwhelmingly point to fixing Social Security as the number one financial issue that the nation’s next president must address.