Despite strong market returns last year, a majority of financial advisors have found that their clients will have to work three to five years longer to maintain their standard of living during their retirement, according to a survey.

Brinker Capital, an investment management firm, announced the results of the first quarter Brinker Barometer, a gauge of financial advisor confidence and sentiment regarding the economy, retirement savings, investing and market performance in 2009 and 2010. The study, which was released Monday, was conducted online by Brinker Capital in February and March and is based on the responses of 247 advisors affiliated with insurance companies, independent broker-dealers and in solo practices. 

Although the majority of financial advisors were satisfied with 2009’s performance, the study highlighted that 63% of advisors said that up to three-quarters of their clients will have to work from three to five years longer to make their retirements viable.

“Clearly 2009 ended on a far more positive note than it began, which meant that financial advisors are generally optimistic about the way the markets and US economy were trending than they had for quite some time,” John Coyne, the president of Brinker Capital, said in a press release.  “Their general level of optimism notwithstanding, the majority of advisors note that their clients still have to delay retirement plans to make up a savings shortfall, and concerns about potential tax increases still abound.” 

Sixty one percent of advisors said they’re either “highly confident” or “somewhat confident” about the nation’s economic outlook; 67% say they’re “highly confident” or “somewhat confident” about 2010 market performance; and 93% indicate they’re “highly confident” or “somewhat confident” about the future of their practices.

In terms of investing strategy, 88% of advisors believe emerging markets will outperform the United States again in 2010, while only 34% plan on allocating additional assets to exchange traded funds. Seventy seven percent are allocating additional assets to guaranteed insurance products and 56% are allocating additional assets to cash or other short-term strategies.

There is still uncertainty ahead, which advisors fear will cause some pain. Topping the list of concerns are tax increases, followed by budget deficit, double-dip recession, another financial meltdown and healthcare reform.

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