The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index rose to +43, a surge of 12 points since March and the highest level in two and a half years. Investors are more optimistic about their ability to maintain incomes over the next 12 months. Optimism is especially high among non-retired investors at +45, the highest in two and a half years. Optimism also increased among retired investors, up 25 points since March to +32. Investors Split On Whether Stock Market Benefits Average American Despite higher optimism, over half of investors (54%) say they have not “personally” benefited much from the stock market’s rise: 33% say they’ve benefited “a little” and 21% say they haven’t benefited “at all.” About four in 10 investors (43%) say they have “personally” benefited “somewhat” or “quite a lot” from the stock market’s increase. Investors are almost evenly divided on whether the rising stock market helps the “average” American “by increasing the value of pension funds and 401(k) accounts.” Forty-nine percent say market increases benefit the “average” American while 47% do not. The median age of the non-retired investor is 46 and the retiree is 69; the Index survey was conducted by telephone between May 16 and 27, 2013. “Investors are ambivalent about whether the rising stock market benefits them. History shows that investors who save and invest regularly based on a plan do benefit from rising stock market values, but at this point, most average investors don’t see a strong connection between the markets and their financial well being,” said John Papadopulos, president of Wells Fargo Retirement. Real estate is cited by 35% of non-retired investor as their top investment choice for investing with a ten-year horizon out of bonds, equities, gold and savings accounts, while 45% of retired investors say stocks would be their top choice.