Workers in retirement who don’t use advisors often find themselves slammed from both ends: They often get hit with higher expenses, particularly unanticipated health care costs, and their income is often lower.

The findings are contained in a Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute consumer survey that also finds 38 percent of retirees wish they would have delayed the start of their Social Security payments in exchange for higher payments.

One-third of retirees without an advisor said health care costs keep them from living the retirement they expected. This is compared with only 13 percent of retirees who use an advisor and said costs keep them from a retirement to which they’d aspired, the survey found.

The survey also found that 33 percent of retirees who don’t work with an advisor said their Social Security deposit was less or much less than they expected.

By comparison, only 12 percent of retirees who work with an advisor said their Social Security deposit was less or much less than they expected.

In addition, the survey revealed that 82 percent of retirees working with an advisor are more likely to say they are able to do the things they want in retirement.

By comparison, only 62 percent of retirees not working with an advisor said they were able to do the things they want in retirement.

Nationwide’s latest survey underscores the growing importance of Social Security as a reliable income stream for millions of retirees.

The longer retirees delay collecting Social Security, the higher the monthly deposit. In order to delay a Social Security check, the retirees need to plan their drawdown on their other savings and defined contribution assets.

Delaying Social Security checks, however, often requires the help of an advisor. Pushing back receipt of Social Security payments by several years translates into as much as $700 or $800 extra in the monthly deposit.

Over a 30-year period, misfiring on Social Security options can mean missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars of retirement income, said Kevin McGarry, director of the Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute.

The survey, the 2014 Social Security Study conducted by Harris Interactive, polled 903 adults age 50 or older in February and March, and who are either retired or plan to retire in the next 10 years.

is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].

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