A new report from MetLife suggests that financial advisers need to do a better job of educating their clients about the importance of managing their emotions as well as their spending and investing behavior during and close to retirement, just as they did - presumably - when they were younger and saving up for their golden years.

The report, "Engaging Clients in a New Way: Putting the Findings of Behavioral Strategies to Work," encourages financial advisers to gradually shift the conversation and clients' investment strategies from accumulation of assets to the distribution of those assets into income as they near retirement.

The advice comes at a time when more and more Americans admit they're panicked about whether or not they'll have enough savings and - more important - income when the time comes to retire.

In March, a sobering survey of 1,260 pre-retirees by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that more than half of all respondents acknowledged that they're "not at all confident" or "not too confident" that they have the nest egg and income sources they need to afford a decent retirement - the highest level of investor uncertainty in the survey's 21-year history.

However, according to the most recent data collected by the Investment Company Institute, Americans by the end of the fourth quarter of 2010 collectively socked away more than $17.5 trillion for their retirement years - up 9.1% year over year. Retirement savings now account for 37% of all U.S. households' financial assets, according to the Institute's data.

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