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Workers Know It: In Retirement Planning, They're On Their Own

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When it comes to helping finance their retirement, today's career professionals increasingly believe they're on their own.

That's the conclusion drawn by a study from Financial Finesse, an El Segundo, Calif., personal finance services firm.

According to Financial Finesse's study, Trends in Employee Financial Issues, more and more "employees accept that they can cannot rely on employers to fund their retirement and health care, and instead are taking control of finances themselves."

Clearly, Americans are worried about their financial futures, especially at a time when, by some metrics, their personal financial situations are mediocre at best.

According to Financial Finesse, American workers' money "wellness" scores average 5.2 on a scale of 10 for the first quarter of 2013. The good news there is that metric, which measures eight key financial planning criteria, has risen from 4.9 a year earlier.

Maybe it's that "middle of the pack" mentality that is driving U.S. workers to take retirement planning matters into their own hands.

The financial wellness study points out that 75% of working Americans say they are working on building "a strong financial foundation" that includes fully leveraging employer financial wellness programs. More specifically, that means employees are plugging into financial advisory webcasts, taking online personal financial assessment tests and taking advantage of on-site visits to talk one-on-one with financial advisers.

In addition, more workers told Financial Finesse they were using retirement calculators and taking investment "risk tolerance assessments" to improve their financial plans for retirement.

In other words, the Great American Worker is slowly realizing it's up to them to plan a comfortable retirement.

"There has been a major paradigm shift in how employees view their benefits and their employers' roles in helping them achieve their financial goals," says Liz Davidson, chief executive at Financial Finesse. "We're seeing that employees, on a mass scale, are proactively taking responsibility for their finances at levels not seen before."

That's especially so in training themselves to be better custodians of their own financial resources, a chore that was left to stockbrokers, insurance agents and financial planners only 10 years ago. Sure, those financial professionals are still needed and used, but employees know a lot more about money management today than they did before the Great Recession.

"A decade ago, only 5% to 10% of employees took advantage of financial education at their workplace," Davidson says. "Today we're seeing an increasing number of workforces where the majority of employees are participating in financial wellness programs and most employees who use these programs are using them on an ongoing basis."

Yet even with all that increased financial knowledge, Americans are still coming up short on retirement plan contributions.

Until that changes, Financial Finesse says Americans face a bleak financial future -- no matter how many investment tutorials they take or how many financial calculators they use.

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