New York - Half of Baby Boomer clients who have postponed retirement due to the economic downturn expect to work at least four years longer than they originally planned, according to a new survey of CPA financial planners.

The survey, by the American Institute of CPAs, found widespread pessimism about retirement plans, even with resurging confidence in the stock market, which, with recent gains, is helping replenish retirement accounts. Fifty-two percent of CPA financial planners said that their clients - who typically have between $500,000 and $5 million in assets - are at least somewhat confident in the stock market now. That's a turnaround from a year ago, when 54 percent said their clients were not very confident.

"Boomers have been scarred by the economic turmoil of the past few years and face complex challenges going forward," said Clark M. Blackman, chair of the AICPA's Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee. "Many Boomers remain uncertain about the U.S. economy and their own situations as they contend with job loss - their own and their children's - lower home values and rising education costs."

In the survey, conducted in late January, 79 percent of CPA financial planners said that they had at least one Boomer client who has delayed retirement because of the economy. Asked how many extra years those Boomer clients expect to work, 32.3 percent of CPA financial planners said one to three years; 39.3 percent said four to six years; 9.8 percent said seven to 10 years; and 3.7 percent said more than 10 years.

Financial concerns are also prompting changes in education decisions. Half of CPA financial planners surveyed said that compared with five years ago, more of their clients' children are opting for state universities or community colleges over private schools because of cost.

The survey also found that 44 percent of CPA financial planners said that their average client emerged from the recession with increased net worth and 17 percent saw their net worth stay the same.

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