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Investors in many of the largest economies in the world appear upbeat about their financial futures, finds a survey by Manulife Financial and John Hancock.

The survey in Asia, based on 3,500 interviews across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, produced an overall Index score of +21. In Canada, the Index score was +35, and in the U.S. it was +26.

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The Index score was calculated as the percentage saying it's a good time and a very good time to invest, minus the percentage saying it's a bad time and a very bad time to invest.

In Asia, key drivers of the Index were positive views of stocks, mutual funds/unit trusts, and real estate. Overall sentiment was highest in Indonesia and Malaysia. Only one market, Hong Kong, strayed into negative sentiment (-11).

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In Canada and the U.S., the Index score was driven by investors' optimistic views on investing in their own homes, balanced mutual funds, stocks and real estate.

"Amid steadily improving equity markets in Asia and North America, investors appear to be regaining confidence in investing in companies and in longer-term, less liquid assets such as real estate, as the rebound continues from the multi-year worldwide recession," says Bill Cheney, chief economist, Manulife Financial.

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Additional findings include:

  • Saving for retirement ranked as the top financial priority for investors in Asia (21%) and Canada (22%). In the U.S., this was the second top financial priority (23%), following maintaining one's current lifestyle (30%);
  • Half of investors in all three regions say they're on track to achieve their financial goals. Investors in Malaysia (62%) and China (64%) were the most on track;
  • While 46% of Asia investors believe they're in a better financial position today than they were two years ago, higher numbers of Canadians (56%) and Americans (53%) share that sentiment; and
  • Looking two years ahead, 57% of Asian investors, 61% of Canadians and 49% of Americans think they'll be in an improved financial position.

Originally published on Advisor.ca