Less than half of U.S. pre-retirees believe they will be able to live the lifestyle they wish in retirement, according to a study by LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting, and professional development firm.

The May 21012 study, which drew from 931 respondents between the age of 55 to 70, found that three in ten pre-retirees have not started any basic retirement planning.

“Pre-retirees are feeling insecure about their retirement future, in part because they have not yet taken the steps to plan for retirement,” said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director of Retirement Research for LIMRA.

While the retirement outlook may not be bright for many pre-retirees, those who worked with advisors were twice as likely to have accomplished at least some planning activities, according to the study. 

“Our research show that working with an advisor to plan for this major stage in life is not only wise, but has measurable positive results on retirement planning,” Drinkwater said. “Retirement, for some, will make up almost a third of their lifetime.”

Advisors can provide assistance to pre-retirees in more complex aspects of planning, such as calculating future assets available in retirement and estimating how long those assets will last. 

Formal, written plans that manage income, assets and expenses during retirement can also be an effective way for advisors to help their clients to organize their planning efforts and implement the specific elements of the strategies they establish.

Only 15% of all pre-retirees have a formal written retirement plan, according to the study. However, among pre-retirees working with an advisor, that rate increases to 62%.

“The challenge for the retirement industry is to convince more pre-retirees that sound planning truly can boost the likelihood that they will live the lifestyles they have imagined,” said Drinkwater. “Some of these activities can be difficult, but they are essential – and help is available.”