New York -- When it comes to saving money, Americans would rather change their eating habits than give up their cell phones, according to a new survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs by Harris Interactive. The national survey of 1,005 adults, which was conducted for National Financial Literacy Month, found that 41 percent of respondents selected cutting back on eating out as their most likely response to a financial pinch. Cutting off cable TV came in second, at 20 percent, and ending cell phone service or stopping downloading songs and digital products tied at 8 percent each.

In a pleasant surprise, only 2 percent said that they would stop contributing to retirement accounts, only 1 percent said they would skip utility payments, and only 1 percent would put off rent or mortgage payments.

The survey also found that 94 percent of American adults said that they have financial concerns of one sort or another. Four in 10 adults, or 41 percent, identified basic living expenses - including the cost of gas, uninsured medical expenses and lack of emergency savings - as their top financial concern. A quarter, 27 percent, said that their main concerns are related to long-term goals, such as paying for education and saving for retirement. Worries about jobs, homes and caring for aging parents rounded out the list.



Bloomington, Ill. -- More Americans are feeling optimistic about their retirement savings, according to a new survey by Country Financial, which found that 35 percent of Americans now think it is possible for a typical middle-income family to save for a secure retirement. That figure is up six points from this time last year, and the first increase in five years.

This increase may be because many Americans did not have to postpone their retirement as a result of the economic downturn. People are also taking positive steps to finance their golden years. Nearly four in 10 (36 percent) will not have to delay their retirement as a result of the economic downturn. Fifty-seven percent either maintained or increased the amount they contribute to their nest egg, a three-point increase from last year.

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