Investor optimism surged in 2012, according to the February Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, with 72 percent of those polled saying they are either better off or no worse off than they were nearly four years ago. Only 27 percent said they were worse off financially.

Two-thirds of investors said there is plenty of opportunity in the U.S. today to get ahead, while one-third of people surveyed said there is not much opportunity. Another telling statistic is the fact that 71 percent of all investors believe they are better off than their parents were at the same age.

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