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Few Take Advantage of 401(k) Advice

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Retirement planning is no easy task. Decisions about deferral rates, asset allocations, diversification and suitable funds can sometimes prove mind-boggling for unskilled investors.

Although 401(k) participants commonly grouse that they need more help and advice, very few actually use the help offered them by their employer.

Last week, Charles Schwab (SCHW - Get Report) released the findings of a research study on the behavior of 401(k) plan participants. It included an analysis of the 401(k) plans serviced by Schwab and a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 plan participants.

It found that 70% of respondents said their 401(k) is their only or primary source of retirement savings, but less than half (47%) said they are "very confident" when it comes to making investment decisions. Roughly 53% said they find their retirement plans even more confusing than health care benefits.

But while a majority (55%) said they would use free, personalized guidance if their employer made it available to them, an analysis of actual participant behavior in plans serviced by Schwab revealed something different: Less than 10% of people with access to advice actively use it.

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