Americans aren't seeking financial advice primarily because they don't feel like they have enough assets, according to TIAA-CREF.

Though the benefits of professional financial advice are widely extolled in the media, almost half of U.S. investors aren’t rushing to schedule appointments with a planner because they believe they lack the assets, according to a recent study.

TIAA-CREF’s fourth annual "Advice Matters" survey found that 45 percent of Americans think they need at least $50,000 to receive professional financial advice—and of those who have never received advice, 63 percent said that they “don’t have enough money to invest.” 

“It is unfortunate that Americans delay seeking advice because they don’t think they’ve saved enough,” says Kathie Andrade, president of TIAA-CREF’s individual advisory services. “We believe advice is a critical component of someone’s financial well-being and that it has a dramatic impact on their behavior and the likelihood of having a good outcome for retirement.”

Andrade says that receiving advice doesn’t necessarily mean opening up a brokerage account or starting a relationship with an RIA.

“There are lots of tools and models available to an individual investor, and there are also phone-based options available,” Andrade says. “The important piece here is that people get advice. The form in which they seek it and receive it should be defined by their needs. It doesn’t necessarily mean a direct model.”

Advice doesn’t simply mean asset allocation or money management, either, says Andrade.

“It’s as much about the decisions they make as it is the money they’re saving,” she says. “For example, choosing to downsize or upscale their living arrangements, choosing to send children to private or public school, even the number of children they have has implications for their financial well-being over the long haul.”

Less than half of the study's respondents, 46 percent, had met with a financial advisor.

While 88 percent of respondents said that meeting with an advisor face-to-face would be valuable, respondents also recognized other options for receiving advice. Almost 80 percent of those surveyed said online tools and calculators are valuable, along with web articles, at 72 percent; printed brochures and other written materials, 70 percent; videos, 68 percent; and online chats, 58 percent.