By Kristie L. Guadiano, Divisional Director Employer Retirement Plans, Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC

To meet retirement goals as effectively as possible, 401(k) participants must do three basic things – save early, save often and invest appropriately. The retirement plan industry offers various ways to help plan participants develop good investing behavior. The most comprehensive way is to give these employees access to investment advice from professionals.

Recent findings show that participants are much more confident in their ability to make the right investment decisions with the help from a professional. To invest adequately, participants must construct and maintain an investment portfolio that includes a diversified mix of investments based on their individual time horizon and risk tolerance.  Striking the balance in one’s individualized portfolio is crucial to achieving retirement saving success. Given the stakes, it’s not surprising that many of today’s 401(k) participants want professional help investing their account.

Fortunately, 401(k) plans have more professional advice options than ever.  The Plan Sponsor Council of America’s 61st Annual Survey finds that more than one-third of companies now offer professional investment advice to participants.  The percentage of plans with investment advice for participants is rising steadily. Where provided, participants may have a choice among a telephone hotline, an internet provider, web conference and one-on-one counseling. One-on-one counseling is the most common method, now offered by almost 70 percent of the plans that provide advice.

Meeting in a one-on-one private setting allows participants to ask personal questions regarding their own individualized situation.  The transition from saving for retirement into actual retirement involves various financial, emotional and social choices, and a professional advisor can act as a sounding board, helping their clients make key decisions and setting them on the right path toward success.

No two plans are alike, and the same can be said of plan advisors. With that in mind, plan sponsors must perform their due diligence before selecting an advisor for their plan.  Advisors and sponsors that are on the same page will develop a strong business partnership that will best suit the needs of their participants.

In the end, if your company is not offering participant investment advice, now is the time to consider including this benefit that participants are increasingly seeking.  Companies that offer professional investment support can help participants maximize the benefit of their company sponsored retirement plan, while helping them to make better decisions for their financial future.

For more information, contact Polaris Greystone today.

Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC is a federally registered investment adviser.  The information, statements and opinions expressed in this material are provided for general information only and are subject to change without notice. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs, is not intended as a recommendation to purchase or sell any security, and is not intended as individual or specific advice.  Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital.  Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC unless a client service agreement is in place.