Another survey found 1 in 5 investors age 50 or older said they would actually prefer to get financial advice mostly through digital tools, but with access to a financial advisor. About 37 percent of these older investors said they would prefer to work mostly with a financial advisor but with an online or digital component, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup survey.
"Technology is constantly evolving and changing how investors want to interact with their financial services firm," said Mary Mack, president of Wells Fargo Advisors.
So when it comes to choosing a "robo-advisor" or digital service to help plan for retirement, it is important for investors to understand how to evaluate them.
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Whether you are using a software-based financial technology company—such as Betterment, Personal Capital or Wealthfront—or a financial industry stalwart that now includes a robo-advisor platform, like Vanguard and CharlesSchwab, you need to ask these three key questions to make sure you are able to reach your retirement goals:
What do they offer? Can they help manage all of your retirement accounts—401(k)s, IRAs and taxable accounts? Will they automatically rebalance your portfolio? What is their tax-planning strategy? What's the minimum required to open an account? (You can generally open an account with one of these firms with a $5,000 to $100,000 account minimum; Betterment has no account minimum.)
How much do they cost? While fees are generally lower than those of traditional investment advisors, they can range from 0.15 percent to 0.89 percent of assets under management, depending on the type of robo-advice you receive.
Will you have access to real advisors? Lower cost often can mean less individualized, personal attention to your investment strategy and goals. If you have a complex financial life, or if you think it will become more complicated in the near future, you may want to be able to talk to a person.
Many investors also rely on a human advisor to help them deal with the emotional aspects of investing decisions. A firm that offers a hybrid approach—digital tools and human advice—may be the right fit for you.