The faculty at higher education institutions are, many times, the smartest people in the room, with most holding doctorate degrees in their field. But when it comes to knowledge about planning for retirement, they earn a failing grade.

That's according to the "Higher Education Faculty Study" by Fidelity Investments, which states that while 82 percent of pre-retiree faculty members (age 55 and over) are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, only 17 percent have actually taken action to create that type of retirement for themselves.

The good news for advisors, however, is that this segment of unprepared pre-retirees is open to advice and assistance for planning. Three-quarters of them report needing some form of financial guidance. Specifically, they are looking for help with:

  • Developing a retirement income plan (31 percent);
  • Choosing specific investments (36 percent);
  • Assessing an overall financial plan (30 percent).

"Having confidence in their retirement savings may result in faculty members who are approaching retirement age not taking the time to create a retirement income plan, leaving them without a strategy to convert savings into lasting income," said Rick Mitchell, executive vice president, Tax-Exempt Retirement Services, Fidelity Investments. "It's critical that pre-retirees understand how long-term savings can be transitioned into retirement income. Higher education employees value education and the opportunity to learn, so it's no surprise that they are asking for help."

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Emily Holbrook

Emily Holbrook serves as owner and head content creator at Red Label Writing LLC, a content studio that collaborates primarily with the insurance and financial services sectors. She can be reached at [email protected].