TIAA-CREF Survey Reveals More Than Half of American Workers Prefer One-on-One Financial Advice

Employers are well-positioned to provide the tools and resources employees need to thrive financially
New York, October 21, 2013 — A new study by TIAA-CREF shows that 55 percent of working Americans prefer to receive one-on-one financial advice from a financial advisor. Just 36 percent of all workers, however, say they regularly rely on financial advice offered by their employers, suggesting there is ample opportunity for employers to help busy employees plan for their financial futures.
TIAA-CREF’s second annual Financial Advice Survey was conducted by an independent research firm and polled a random sample of 1,000 adults nationwide to assess their attitudes, preferences and behaviors about receiving financial advice.
“Convenience, trust and time are key when it comes to receiving financial advice. Today, more than ever, access to financial advice at work can help employees be more intentional about planning for the future and confident about their retirement security,” said Teresa Hassara, executive vice president of TIAA-CREF’s Institutional Business. “With this being National Save for Retirement Week, employers have the perfect opportunity to talk with their employees about saving for retirement and encourage them to take advantage of the resources available through the workplace.”
Trust can be a barrier for individuals seeking financial advice. According to the TIAA-CREF survey, 50 percent of workers say it’s hard to know what sources they can use or who can be trusted to provide financial advice. In particular, young professionals just beginning their careers are uncertain about where they should start looking for advice: 31 percent of workers age 18-34 report that they’re unsure about the questions they should ask a financial advisor.
By providing access to financial advice to employees throughout their careers – from onboarding to nearing retirement when individuals begin to plan for the post-employment stage of their lives – employers can build trust and loyalty, retain talented workers and reinforce the importance of financial planning.
“We take great pride in helping our institutional clients build trusting relationships with their employees, and we strive equally hard to uphold that same high level of trust and confidence with each and every individual we serve,” Hassara said. “We are doing exceptionally well in this regard. In fact, more than 90 percent of individuals surveyed said they trust that TIAA-CREF understands their unique needs and goals, and has the expertise required to handle their financial needs.”1
As noted in TIAA-CREF’s recent white paper “The value of advice in a retirement plan ,” advice on allocating retirement plan contributions and taking better advantage of employer-sponsored plans can push workers toward better-informed financial decisions. A recent TIAA-CREF analysis showed that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those who took advantage of TIAA-CREF’s advice offering chose to either save more, revisit their portfolio allocation or rebalance their portfolio.2 Among active plan participants, approximately half (46 percent) increased their savings rate, which can have dramatic consequences on a retiree’s overall savings.2
In addition to in-person advice sessions, TIAA-CREF helps to build employees’ financial well-being and confidence by offering clients a variety of resources and interactive tools on financial advice, including an online Advice and Guidance Center, educational programs focusing on trending financial issues and financial empowerment workshops for women. Research has shown that individuals who receive advice from TIAA-CREF are five times more confident about their retirement than the average American worker.1
TIAA-CREF has been offering personalized retirement plan advice since 2005 at no additional cost to clients. The company offers in-person financial services at more than 90 offices across the country, growing to more than 100 by year end, in addition to phone representatives who are licensed and trained to provide advice. Through these services, TIAA-CREF helps clients establish financial goals, provides recommendations on how much to save and how to diversify investments, and offers specific investment recommendations.
For more information on the survey, read the 2013 TIAA-CREF Financial Advice Survey Executive Summary . For more information on TIAA-CREF’s Advice and Guidance offerings, visit our Advice and Guidance Center.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted by KRC Research by phone among a national random sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 years and older, between August 28 and September 2, 2013. The margin of error for the entire sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with $542 billion in assets under management (as of 09.30.13) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

Media Contacts

Steve Gawlik
Chad Peterson
  1. Based on survey of 8,498 individuals who received TIAA-CREF advice via phone or in person from January through August 2012 compared to 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey Results reported by EBRI in March 2012.
  2. TIAA-CREF Advice & Planning, 2012.
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products.
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Diversification is a technique to help reduce risk. There is no guarantee that diversification will protect against a loss of income
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products.