Investors mood is improving

The fear and confusion that tormented American investors after the financial crisis struck in 2008 has in many cases given way to cautious optimism and a more disciplined approach to handling money, a survey by Fidelity Investments has found.

Investors have stashed more money in retirement plans — until recently, bond funds were the big winners — along with paying down debt, according to the survey from the big mutual-fund company.

Two-thirds of the 1,154 respondents reported being scared or confused in the aftermath of the crisis, Fidelity said. Nearly half said their household assets dropped significantly, with an average decline of 34 percent. One out of 6 heads of households lost their jobs, and one in three families experienced a large drop in income.

Despite that turmoil, 56 percent of the investors said they were no longer so fearful and have made positive changes in their financial mind-set and behavior. Well over half said they feel better prepared for retirement than they did before the crisis.

“Emerging from the depths of the crisis, many investors found resolve and started taking control of their personal economy,” said Kathleen Murphy, Fidelity’s president of personal investing. “The silver lining of this crisis is that it spurred investors to reassess and take action to improve their finances.”

The survey was conducted by the firm GfK, which interviewed 1,154 participants over the Internet. Participants were required to be at least 25 and financial decision-makers for their households. They also had to own investments other than a bank savings account or certificate of deposit.

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&Copy;2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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