Salient to Investors:

Survey after survey shows that formal advice leads investors to increase their savings, diversify their holdings and continue holding stocks even when the market takes a plunge.

Only a quarter of the people who have access to advice through their retirement plans actually take advantage of it, while most of those who do neglect to provide the personal details that would make the advice more valuable.

Plan Sponsor Council of America found that 58% of 820 profit-sharing and 401(k) plans offered investment advice in 2010, up from 47% in 2005 – just over 33% offered professional account management, up from 24% in 2005.

Many employees are ill-equipped to manage their own money – many older investors are too heavily invested in stocks or worse, their own company’s stock, while some young workers avoid stocks altogether.

Sue Walton at Towers Watson said poor investment decisions are not tied to specific jobs or salaries.

Christopher Jones at Financial Engines said a large portion of plan participants are reluctant investors – people don’t have the time for it, or the inclination.

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