In its latest client survey, Charles Schwab found just 26 percent of those interviewed feel they're better off financially now than a year ago, down from 44 percent who said they felt better off in the fourth quarter of 2010.

It also found only one-third of investors felt confident in their ability to make investment decisions.

This lack of confidence has fueled a demand for the company's advisory programs, according to Charles Schwab. New advisory accounts grew 10 percent in 2011, and net assets in these fee-based solutions increased 33 percent last year. According to the survey, 77 percent of Schwab clients say they're most confident when receiving ongoing or periodic professional investment advice.

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