An overwhelming majority of financial advisors say their clients' retirement plans have been dramatically impacted by the current economic chaos and that it will take many of them one to five years to recuperate, says a new study by Brinker Capital, an investment management firm.

The Brinker Capital Retirement Indicator, a online survey taken in November of 221 advisors affiliated with insurance companies, independent broker-dealers and sole practitioners, reveals 88% say their clients are no longer on track to reach their retirement goals, compared to 54% with that assessment of their clients at the beginning of the year.

Of those advisors who believe their clients aren't on track to reach their goals, 74% feel it will take up to five years to make up the lost ground. Nearly all (97%) blame the problem on the current market deterioration, while 51% said another reason was that clients didn't start saving soon enough.

Advisors also note their clients don't have a realistic picture of their risk tolerance. Three-fourths of the advisors say their clients are suffering from a disconnect between their perceived risk tolerance and their real aversion to risk.

"They think they are much more aggressive than they are," says John Ring, managing director of retirement services for Brinker Capital. "Advisors and plan sponsors should be aware of this disconnect. Plan sponsors seem to feel more comfortable when they have access to advisors to get the appropriate investment balance."

Among other findings, 65% of advisors say their clients have become more involved in investment decisions as the economy has worsened. In addition, 92% of advisors say the government should not be involved in managing 401(k)s, and 74% say government should not mandate employee or employer participation in 401(k)s.