The consumers who appear to be doing the best job of preparing for retirement are the ones who tend to feel most uneasy about their efforts.

Researchers at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass., have published statistics supporting that conclusion in a paper based in part on survey responses from 17,000 individuals in 2,300 employer-sponsored retirement plans administered by MassMutual.

Participants filled out the questionnaires in September 2007 and October 2007.

Researchers also looked at the investment decisions of individuals who filled out the survey questionnaires.

MassMutual defined low savers as participants with salary deferral rates of less than 4%, medium savers as those with deferral rates between 4% and 8%, and high savers as those with deferral rates of 8% or greater.

Only 44% of the high savers expressed confidence about their investment decisions, compared with about 54% of the low savers and medium savers.

About 44% of the high savers are concerned about whether they will save enough for retirement, compared with just 32% of the low savers and medium savers.

Meanwhile, only 47% of the low savers and medium savers want more information about investments and investing, compared with 79% of the high savers.