Investors are afraid of current market conditions and for their futures, but financial advisors increasingly are having the conversations necessary to bring their clients back from the edge and instill more confidence, says Tim Minard, senior vice president for retirement distribution at Principal Financial Group.

Minard's comments are based on his work with advisors, as well as on results of a recent survey of 650 financial advisors across the U.S. conducted for Principal by Harris Interactive.

"A year ago, I would say the conversations were not even taking place (between advisors and clients)," Minard says. He adds that advisors are telling people what they need to hear, which is to live within their means and save more.

According to the survey, advisors say the three biggest roadblocks to financial security are people living beyond their means, named the top problem by 70% of advisors; not saving enough (66%) and a fear that is making it difficult for them to act (62%).

Seventy one percent of the advisors say their clients' desire for financial counseling has either increased significantly or increased somewhat over the past year. Financial advisors are modifying their businesses to meet these new client demands by providing more financial education (61% of advisors), focusing on diversification (56%) and paying closer attention to risk management (49%).

"Financial advisors have always educated their clients, but that education is now focused on calming their clients down and getting back to fundamentals, saving more and spending less, rather than talking to them about specific products," Minard says.