pocket watch in sand When askedif they can 'successfully choose investments that could last intotheir 80s or 90s,' few boomers surveyed said they were 'veryconfident.' (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Just 31 percent of workers believe they'll have set aside enoughmoney for a comfortable retirement—and they're not all thatconfident about their ability to choose good stocks, either.

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According to the 2018 Global Investment Survey from Legg Mason, theolder they are, the more pessimistic workers are about theirinvesting confidence.

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When asked if they can “successfully choose investments thatcould last into their 80s or 90s,” just 32 percent said they were“very confident” overall.

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That sank to 17 percent of boomers. Millennials, on the otherhand, clocked in with 60 percent being “very confident.”

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Their backup plan? Work.

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More than a third—36 percent—said that if they fail toaccumulate enough assets to see them through, either they or theirspouse would work longer and/or join the gig economy.

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Still, 86 percent said that their investment goals are focusedon long-term returns like retirement income or leaving aninheritance.

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And those confident millennials? A surprising 60 percent(compared with 29 percent of respondents overall) confessed tomaking an emotional decision to sell in a 401(k) plan that theylater regretted.

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Emotions ruled other demographics, too, to varying degrees, with34 percent of men compared with just 21 percent of women admittingthe same.

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Kids may have driven parents to make emotional decisions, too,since 54 percent of investors with kids in the household pledguilty, compared with just 13 percent of those without kids.

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More money wasn't proof against emotions, either, with 41percent of investors with annual income of $100,000 and over owningup to regretting an emotional retirement plan decision, while just21 percent of investors with annual income under $100,000 'fessedup to a similar offense.

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And 47 percent of investors who self-identify their investmentknowledge as “expert/advanced” apparently don't know as much asthey think they do, since they likewise confessed to being ruled byemotion, compared with just 11 percent of those who classifiedthemselves as “beginner/rudimentary.”

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But there's plenty of room for improvement, especially since 22percent of employed investors—including 34 percent of boomers, butonly 11 percent of millennials—own up to not actually knowing thedetails of their 401(k) allocations.

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Not that their allocations—when they know them—are all thatgreat, since boomers are carrying 60 percent equities in theiraccounts, when it might be time to start guarding against marketvolatility.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.