Investors under the age of 46 (“Gen X/Y”) have become more optimistic about investing, but those ages 46 to 64 (“Boomers”) are holding back, according to the latest MFS Investing Sentiment Survey.

More than 40% of  Gen X/Y investors with $100,000 in investable assets reported they increased the amount they contributed to retirement plans in the last 12 months and more than half saved more outside their 401(k) or IRAs. Also, more than half say that they should invest overseas.

However, the group showed some confusion: they are holding 30% of their portfolios in cash, even though 71% report that inflation is a major concern. Many realize they need help:  45% say they re overwhelmed by the investment choices available to them, and 42% say their need for financial advice has increased in the past year. 

"We can see that Gen X/Y have accumulated significant assets, are willing to invest those assets, and have an increasing need for advice. However, their behavior and sentiment suggests that their needs are not being fully met by financial advisors,” said William Finnegan, senior managing director of retail marketing for MFS.

Half of the Boomers surveyed said they had lowered their expectations for life in retirement. While 30% said they were willing to take less risk in their investments than before, 59% of non-retired Boomers agreed with the statement, "I'm more concerned than ever about being able to retire when I thought I would."

"Boomers appear to be in a bind, knowing they need to save more for a retirement that is not far off, but they have a protective mindset driving their investing approach," Finnegan concluded.

Research Collaborative, an independent research firm, conducted the survey of nearly 600 investors in mid-February on behalf of MFS, a mutual fund provider.