A lot of folks are reaching retirement age burdened by concerns about the economy and their investments and many have no financial plan to guide them, according to Spectrem's Mass Affluent Investor report. That can provide opportunities for financial advisors.

   For purposes of this survey, the Spectrem Group, a Chicago-based consulting company, defines mass affluent as U.S. households with between $100,000 and $1 million in assets. It says this group's confidence level in the economy is minus 14, which is considered mildly bearish. More telling is the fact that the rating was a positive 11 in May 2007.

   Breaking down the mass affluent sector by occupation reveals areas where advisors can target efforts for new clients, says Tom Wynn, a director at Spectrem. Only 27% of female professionals-such as doctors, lawyers and accountants-have a financial plan either developed on their own or with help from an advisor. At the same time, only 44% of male business owners have a financial plan. 

   The majority of people in these categories who do not have financial plans "would seem to me to be the 'low hanging fruit' who can use the assistance of advisors," says Wynn.

    Two-thirds of the mass affluent are 55 or older and are nearing retirement or are already retired. However, only 9% of the wealth of those still working is derived from investment income, and for those retired only 29% of wealth is from investments.

   "Another opportunity for advisors will be to help (this group) set up or redefine a retirement income stream," the report concludes.