CHICAGO -- If you've ever thought about getting some professional help with your retirement plan, this would be a great time to get going. Financial advisors may be in short supply in the years ahead.

A brain drain is about to hit the world of financial planning, according to Cerulli Associates, a financial services consulting firm. Cerulli reports that 32 percent of all advisors will retire in the next 10 years. At the same time, the industry isn't hiring nearly enough new blood to replace them, let alone expand the ranks to handle the anticipated surge in demand.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of job openings for financial advisors will jump 27 percent, or 60,300 additional jobs, by 2022. That's much faster than the 10.8 percent average growth rate for all occupations.

The advisor shortage will pose challenges for baby boomers getting close to retirement age who may be just waking up to the need for a plan. But it also should worry anyone working with a planner closing in on retirement who lacks a succession plan, says Scott Smith, a Cerulli Associates director.

"You should be saying -- 'I'm 60, you're 60 -- who will be here to service my account when I'm older?' These advisors think they can keep working forever, but they don't always retire on schedule -- bad things can happen, and then the client is left rudderless. People need to be asking their advisors -- what is your contingency plan, and why don't you have a 24-year-old helping you out in the office?"

The retirement wave comes after a period of rapid change in the advisory business. Roughly 85 percent of the business is concentrated at large broker-dealer firms such as Ameriprise Financial, Morgan Stanley and Raymond James. Smith says those firms cut back on new advisor development to save money after the 2008-2009 financial crash. Since then, many have relied on recruiting experienced advisors from other firms.

"A lot of the big firms had big recruiting programs until that point, where they'd bring in a couple thousand candidates in hopes of retaining 200," he says. "Now, they just recruit people from other firms instead of training their own -- it's easier and more productive. They're all kicking the can down the road in terms of who will develop the next generation of advisors."

The sales-oriented, commission-driven culture of the big firms is another recruitment barrier, he says. "You're asking a 26-year-old to take his parents' phone book and convince all their friends to hand over substantial sums of money. Young people have a greater interest in being more holistic planners, and less transactional."

Holistic planning addresses not only investments, but the bigger picture, including housing, insurance, taxes, debt and estate planning. It's the province of registered investment advisors (RIAs), many of whom work on a fee-only basis. But RIAs are fewer in number, and they tend to work with high-net-worth clients.

At a time when retirement security has eroded, a plan for retirement has never been more important -- especially for households facing deficits in retirement savings, sharp declines in the value of their homes and unforeseen loss of income because of job loss.

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