The economy's in rough shape. The American Dream has undergone major revisions. And clients' investing goals may be out of reach. But independent financial advisors say their own firms are doing just fine.

A new survey conducted in August for Charles Schwab turned up a startling contrast: Despite significant concerns about both the equity markets and the broader economy, more than 80% of advisors define themselves as "bullish" on both their firm's profitability and assets under management. More than a third say their firms have hired new employees this year.

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