Investors who rely mostly on a do-it-yourself approach become increasingly reliant on advisors the closer they get to retirement, according to Cerulli Associates.

“Advice seekers,” defined as those investors who value a do-it-yourself approach with some input when needed, make up 34% of affluent investors five years or more prior to retirement, the Boston-based research firm said.

But once they cross that five-year line, the majority suddenly switch to become “advisor reliant,” ballooning that segment to 46% of the investor pool. Advisor-reliant investors, Cerulli said, are those who are heavily reliant on traditional financial advisors and make few decisions on their own.

And by the time investors have been retired for less than a year, almost all advice seekers have become advisor-reliant, which then accounts for 57% of the market, the firm said, adding that understanding the retirement assistance needs of investors is critical to advisors attracting and retaining them as clients.

“With thousands of U.S. investors entering retirement every day, it has never been more important for wealth management platforms and advisors to support these transitions with a variety of product and service solutions,” the researchers wrote. “Earlier in their financial lifecycle, these Advice Seekers were trying to determine the best sources of ongoing advice, but once they reach within five years of anticipated retirement, most have chosen their solution.”

Two other segments—“passive investors,” who prefer set-it-and-forget-it options throughout their lives, and “self-directed,” who are hands on but are DIY all the way—barely change on their path from a working life to retirement and account for roughly 40% of all investors.

All groups identified that the most important financial goal was assuring a comfortable standard of living in retirement. Protecting their current level of wealth came in second, and a handful of other goals, like leave an estate for heirs or minimize taxes, trailed far behind.

In order to attract advice seekers and help them become advisor reliant, firms and practitioners must consistently emphasize the support resources they offer and their commitment to prioritizing a client’s best interests, Cerulli said.

However, at the point of retirement, advantage goes to advisors affiliated with a national brand as those advisors move from attracting 39% of investors to 45%, and investors with no preference drops to 20% from 30%, the research showed.

And finally, regardless of how close to or far into retirement investors are, more of them—39%—prefer the portfolio management of a home office team over that of an individual advisor (29%), Cerulli said.

“This underscores the importance investors place on the reliability of their advisory relationships as they enter retirement,” the firm said. “While they may have had little preference earlier, once they approach retirement, they seek partners with access to a strong suite of support services with an affinity for brands familiar to them.”

For this research, Cerulli partnered with MarketCast, a consumer research consultant. The survey focused on two demographics important to financial advisors: affluent investors who have at least $250,000 in investible assets and the near-affluent who make more than $125,000 a year and are younger than 45.

In its analysis, Cerulli looked at respondents in four categories: those with more than five years to go until retirement, those with less than five years until retirement, those who have been retired less than one year and those who have been retired for more than a year.