Manulife Financial, John Hancock Investor Sentiment Surveys: Affluent North American Investors Believe They Are Financially On

Manulife Financial, John Hancock Investor Sentiment Surveys: Affluent North 
American Investors Believe They Are Financially On Track 

    --  Affluent Canadian and American investors optimistic about the
    --  Seventy per cent of affluent North American investors on track
        to meet financial goals
    --  US investor sentiment holds steady while Canadian sentiment
    --  Canadians and Americans aligned in financial New Year's
        resolutions and priorities


TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Affluent North American investors are feeling 
very optimistic about their personal finances heading into 2013. Seventy per 
cent of affluent investors in both Canada and the United States agree that 
they are either ahead of plan, or on track, to meet their personal financial 
goals and about 50 per cent anticipate that their financial position will 
improve over the next two years.

Six out of ten affluent Canadian and American investors say that they are on 
track to meet their current financial goals while roughly 10 per cent say that 
they are ahead of plan on their goals. Just one in five investors surveyed in 
both countries indicate that they are behind on their financial goals but they 
are likely to catch up.

"It's positive to see that, despite ongoing news about the fiscal cliff, 
global debt and U.S. debt ceiling, economic uncertainty and other challenges, 
our surveys indicate that affluent North American investors are feeling very 
confident about their financial future," said Paul Lorentz, Executive 
Vice-President, Investment and Insurance Solutions for Manulife Financial.

The findings are derived from a comparison of the results of the latest 
Manulife Financial and John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index surveys. The 
surveys - conducted in Canada and the U.S in December 2012 - measure affluent 
investors' feelings about whether or not this is a good time to invest in a 
variety of savings and investment vehicles and the likelihood of purchasing 
specific financial products and services.

Investor sentiment differs in North America
In Canada, overall affluent investor sentiment index strengthened in the 
second half of the year, rising to +31, from +26 in January 2012. In the 
U.S.,investors' confidence held steady in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the 
John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index® ticking upward slightly to +18 from a 
score of +17 in the third quarter of last year.

New Year's resolutions, financial priorities aligned
Other findings from the surveys show that Canadians and Americans are aligned 
in their financial New Year's resolutions and how they plan to achieve their 
top financial goals.
    --  In Canada (31 per cent) and the United States (29 per cent),
        the top financial-planning related New Year's Resolution is to
        trim household budgets.
    --  Rebalancing portfolios is the second top resolution for 19 per
        cent of Canadians and also for 19 per cent of Americans.

Top financial priorities for 2013 among affluent Canadians and Americans 
differ slightly.
    --  Canadians' top three priorities are to manage/maintain current
        lifestyle (32 per cent), pay down debt (18 per cent) and save
        for retirement (15 per cent).
    --  American respondents say their top financial priorities are the
        same: however, they differ in order with maintain/manage their
        current lifestyle (35 per cent) topping the list followed by,
        saving for retirement (29 per cent) and paying down debt (11
        per cent).

Similar steps to achieving financial goals
When asked what steps, if any, affluent investors are taking to achieve their 
financial goals, Canadians and Americans identified the same top four steps. 
However, these steps varied in terms of priority.

Percentage of Affluent investors that indicated what steps they have taken to 
achieve their financial goals:

|Step taken             |  Affluent Canadians  |  Affluent Americans  |
|Talked to a financial  |              45%     |              40%     |
|professional for advice|                      |                      |
|Saved a certain amount |              41%     |              59%     |
|on                     |                      |                      |
|a regular basis        |                      |                      |
|Reduced spending       |              40%     |              45%     |
|Calculated how much    |              27%     |              41%     |
|money needed to achieve|                      |                      |
|goal                   |                      |                      |

Seven in ten affluent Canadians work with a financial advisor to achieve their 
financial goals while in the U.S., five in ten affluent investors choose to 
seek professional financial advice. However, affluent investors in both 
countries indicated that they work with advisors for a similar reason. Seeking 
advice on how to get better returns is the main reason for Canadians (24 per 
cent) and Americans (56 per cent) to work with a professional financial 

"We encourage people to work closely with an advisor and stick to a financial 
plan," Mr. Lorentz added. "People with integrated financial plans, working 
with strong, reliable and trustworthy companies, generally feel better 
prepared for the future, are more confident about reaching their goals and are 
better equipped deal with the ups and downs in the economy."

In both countries, those who do not work with a financial advisor say it is 
because they feel knowledgeable enough to manage their investments on their 
own (Canada, 26 per cent, U.S., 43 per cent).

About the Investor Sentiment Index Surveys
Both Investor Sentiment Index surveys are conducted in a similar fashion. The 
survey measures affluent investors' feelings about the current economic 
climate and their evaluations of what represents a good or bad investment 
given the current environment.The poll also asks consumers about their 
confidence in reaching key financial goals and the likelihood of purchasing 
financial products and services.

An online survey of 1,127 investors was conducted in the U.S. between November 
26th to December 7(th.) In Canada, a sample of 1,003 investors were surveyed 
between November 30(th) to December 8(th). Both surveys included household 
decision-makers at least 25 years of age, with a household income of $75,000 
or greater and investable assets of $100,000 or more.

The Canadian research was conducted by Research House, an Environics Company. 
The U.S. survey was conducted by independent research firm Mathew Greenwald & 

In a similarly-sized random sample survey, the margin of error would be plus 
or minus +/- 3.10 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with 
principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to 
Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for 
their most significant financial decisions.

Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners 
offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to 
millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to 
institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its 
subsidiaries were C$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30, 2012. The 
Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as 
John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and 
under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

About John Hancock John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife Financial, 
a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in 
Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada 
and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company 
offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth 
management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and 
distribution partners.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the 
largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range 
of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, fixed 
products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college 
savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about 
John Hancock may be found at

Media contact: Jana Miller Director, Public Relations 519.594.4597

Image with caption: "Affluent North American Investors Believe They Are 
Financially On Track(CNW Group/Manulife Financial Corporation)". Image 
available at:

SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation

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CO: John Hancock
ST: Ontario

-0- Jan/21/2013 16:29 GMT

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