Despite a rocky economic environment, affluent pre-retirees are more optimistic about the future, but remain wary of credit card companies and large banks.

According to a survey by Phoenix Marketing International, 44% of affluent pre-retirees surveyed in May have been negatively impacted by the economy, but conditions have improved since November, when 50% were negative.

According to the survey of 1,900 individual investors between the ages of 35 and 64 with $100,000 or more of household and investable assets, fewer agree that "the recession of 2008 never really came to an end for people like me" (35% to 22%) and that "America's quality of life will be negatively affected by the recent financial crisis for the long-term" (56% to 44%).

"Perhaps more telling of how pre-retirees feel going into the fall Presidential election is that our study shows gains since last year in those who are optimistic that they will be able to retire when they had planned,"said John Duggan, the vice president of sales and marketing for Phoenix.

Duggan added, "Our findings show the consequence of investor perception of an improved economic climate translates very quickly to a shift in investment strategy anticipated in the next six months. Specifically, fewer pre-retirees now plan to hold steady/make no changes (31% to 24%) or to increase the rate of personal savings (32% to 26%)."

Phoenix data show that the local community bank (47%) and mutual funds (25%) are top-tier among affluent pre-retirees. The least trusted financial institutions for these investors include credit card companies (11%) and large national banks (13%).

The biannual Phoenix study has been conducted since November 2009.

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