WASHINGTON -- Baby boomers are feeling more worried about their prospects for retiring securely, a new survey has found.

In the fourth annual poll of boomers by the Insured Retirement Institute, a quarter of respondents said that they have postponed their retirement plans in the past year, and 28% are now planning to work until age 70 or later, up from 17% four years ago.

"We are seeing, unfortunately, a slip again in retirement confidence," IRI Senior Vice President Danielle Holland told reporters on a conference call discussing the survey. "There has been a steady decline in the confidence of the baby boomer generation."

In 2011, the first year that the IRI conducted its retirement preparedness survey, 44% of boomers polled said that they were confident in their financial position heading into retirement. Four years later, that figure has fallen to 35%.

Boomers are also changing their attitudes about estate planning. In past years, around two-thirds of those surveyed said that they believe that it is important to leave an inheritance to loved ones; this year, that figure dropped to 46%.

SOME OPTIMISIM

Despite the worrisome trend of rising anxiety among boomers nearing about retirement, the survey did find some encouraging developments, including a slight uptick in savings rates and a cautious optimism among respondents that their financial position will improve in the coming years.

For instance, 42% of respondents in this year's survey said that they expect their financial situation to improve over the next five years, up from 33% in 2013.

"There is some optimism from that standpoint," Holland says.

A healthy 80% of respondents said that they have some retirement savings, up marginally from previous years. In the past year, 64% of respondents said that they had increased their retirement savings. Of those who have saved for retirement, 48% said that they have $250,000 or more stored away, with another 22% saying that they have saved between $100,000 and $250,000.

The survey also highlighted the important role that advisors can play in helping boomers prepare for retirement. Among boomers polled, 53% of those who work with an advisor said that they are confident in their efforts in planning for retirement, compared to just 21% of respondents who do not have an advisor.

When boomers were asked if they believe they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, 49% of respondents with an advisor answered in the affirmative, while just 20% of those who do not work with an advisor expressed a similar confidence.

"It makes a difference to have a goal," says Nevin Adams, director of the American Savings Education Council. "Those who sought paid advice did in fact tend to be more confident."

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