Americans are showing resilience in the aftermath of the financial crisis, but their advisors report that they are not doing a good enough job of saving or living within their means, Principal Financial found in a survey of 632 advisors. Only 10% of the advisors surveyed said their clients are able to easily visualize their financial dreams.

“Having a dream is just the beginning of planning for a secure financial future,” said Tim Minard, senior vice president of distribution at Principal Financial. “This study supports what we’ve seen reflected in our own business—that people need help to plan for their futures, and advisors are well-equipped to help clients get there.”

About 75% of advisors said not saving enough was the primary roadblock to their clients’ financial success, and 73% said they live beyond their means. Seventy-three percent of advisors also said their clients are not truthful about their expenses, 48% said they don’t fess up on their level of debt, and 34% said they aren’t honest about their financial habits.

As to why their clients veer from their financial goals, 67% of advisors said it’s due to living beyond their means -- trumping loss of employment (50%) and major life events such as marriage, divorce or birth of a child (45%).

To address these shortcomings, 79% of advisers said it would be helpful if their clients increased their retirement savings, 75% pointed to the benefits of creating a financial plan, and 55% said paying down debt was also an ingredient to healthy financial life.

Asked what their clients’ biggest financial worries are, 87% said outliving their savings, 79% said the ability to enjoy the same quality of life in retirement, and 70% noted the ability to afford good medical care.

“Fears of an unfulfilled retirement can be avoided by making a plan and sticking to it,” Minard said. “Through planning, and saving early, a comfortable retirement is a realistic dream.”



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