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Can’t shake investment blues?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Posted: 8 am ET

Affluent investors are still in a funk over the economy, according to a recent survey.

Asset manager MFS Investment Management surveyed 596 wealthy individuals with between $100,000 and $1 million to invest, along with 610 financial advisers, and found that 32 percent described their investment stance as "protective." Fewer than half (41 percent) say they are hopeful, while 17 percent say they are pessimistic and 16 percent are fearful.

Most of the concern centers around retirement. Fifty-nine percent of respondents worry about whether they can retire when they thought they would, and half have lowered their expectations in retirement. To that end, 44 percent say they've cut back on discretionary spending.

Other fears include rising health care costs, cited by 18 percent as their greatest financial concern over the next 12 months, followed by the federal deficit (15 percent) and Social Security benefit reductions (15 percent.)

Plenty of individual investors have been staying on the sidelines of the stock market, skittish about volatility and the larger economy. According to the Investment Company Institute, investors withdrew $96.7 billion from the U.S. stock market in 2010.

But the news may not be so glum after all. As of Friday, the S&P 500 is up 6 percent year to date and the Dow is up 8 percent.

How are you feeling about the economy and investing in the stock market -- optimistic or pessimistic?

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