What keeps financial advisors up at night? A majority say their clients are mostly worried about outliving their assets and few have set aside enough money to retire early without having to reduce their living standards.

These were the findings in a report titled “Retirement Planning Survey 2019,” conducted by Financial Advisor magazine. The survey, which polled 1,130 financial advisors on the state of their clients’ outlook and retirement plans, found that 42% of advisors said clients are concerned about outliving their assets. That same issue also was highlighted by 45% of advisors as one of the biggest threats that their retired clients are experiencing.

“Everybody is worried about outliving their assets,” says Galen Norby, a CFP with Woodbury Financial Services in Wichita, Kan. He adds that long-term care is the biggest problem retirees face but “most bury their heads in the sand and don’t want to talk about it.”

Louis Avalos of Waddell & Reed Inc. in Irvine, Calif., says both high earners and low earners worry about outliving assets, especially if they are not blessed with a large pension to support them. “If they don’t have the large pension or Social Security, this becomes a concern as the amount of their retirement funds start to look small,” Avalos says.

A total of 63% of respondents reported that most of their retired clients have saved $100,000 to $1 million. Twenty-one percent say their clients have saved $1 million to $2 million, and 10% say most of their clients are in the $2.1 million to $5 million range.

But roughly 70% of the advisors said half of their clients are not prepared to walk away from their jobs and jet off to the places of their dreams and enjoy life. In fact, financial advisors are finding that many of their clients are delaying their golden years by working longer. The survey found 55% of their clients continue to work because they feel they don’t have enough assets to retire. Forty-two percent report they are there for the health insurance, and 27% say their clients keep working because they cannot sell a business or professional practice.

On a brighter note, a lopsided 88% say their clients continue to work because they enjoy doing so.

Some financial experts have suggested that to retire comfortably you need to have $1 million or more saved. Not so, says Norby. “Everybody has a different number. There is no magic number.”

Robert Fragasso of Fragasso Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh agrees. “There is not one number that works universally.” He looks at a number of variables, including the clients’ level of retirement spending, their age, state of health, their tax and extended family considerations, and their local cost-of-living increase expectations. “That is why each family must accomplish an individualized set of financial projections and revisit them each year to gauge [whether they are] on track,” he argues.

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