Working with a financial advisor is one of three keys to success in retirement planning, according to a study from Putnam Investments.
The other two components are having access to an employer-sponsored savings plan and dedication to personal savings, the study said.
Putnam surveyed 4,089 working people age 18 to 65 as research for its Putnam Lifetime Income Score, a metric for retirement preparedness.
Successful retirement is defined as the ability to replace current income in retirement. On average, Americans are on track to replace 61 percent of their income in retirement. This number is increased for those who work with an advisor, save at least 10 percent of their salary and have access to an employer-sponsored savings plan, Putnam says.
“As awareness grows among working Americans that a financially successful retirement may require greater savings discipline, we think a solid understanding of the various factors at play could positively raise their chances of replacing current income in retirement,” says Edmund F. Murphy III, head of defined contribution for Putnam Investments.
Investors who work with a financial advisor are on track to replace 80 percent of their income in retirement, Putnam says. Those who do not are on track to replace 56 percent. Of those currently on track to replace 100 percent of their income, 39 percent are working with an advisor.
The ability to replace income in retirement is not tied to income level but rather to savings level, Putnam says. Those families that save 10 percent or more of their income, no matter what the income level, are on track to replace 106 percent of their income in retirement, which underscores the importance of consistent savings, the study says.
Access to workplace retirement plans is also important. Workers who are eligible for a workplace plan are on track to replace 73 percent of their income while those without access replace only 41 percent.
Automatic deferral plans and automatic escalation plans are important to savings rates, according to Putnam. Those who opt in to employer-sponsored retirement plans have an average deferral rate of 8 percent of salary, but those who were automatically enrolled had an average 9 percent deferral rate. The average deferral rate for those with automatic escalation built into the plan was 10 percent.
Retirement success is different for different occupations. Workers in the financial industry have the highest scores and are on track to replace 76 percent of their income, while those in the information and educational services industries were second with 72 percent. The industries scoring lowest were construction (52 percent) and leisure and hospitality (55 percent).
On average, household retirement assets are conservatively invested with an emphasis on cash (55 percent) over equities (30 percent) and fixed-income instruments (15 percent.) Within qualified plans, a disparity emerges between self-directed and professionally advised portfolios. Advised portfolios were more heavily weighted to equities (40 percent) and fixed income (21 percent) while non-advised portfolios had a pronounced bias toward cash (60 percent), Putnam found.