Although there are some variations based on gender and geography, affluent baby boomers are being hit hard by the economic slowdown and are making changes in their lifestyles and retirement planning, according to a recent survey by Bell Investment Advisors.

   One-fourth of the boomers are changing their retirement plans and 40% are cutting back on living expenses, eliminating vacations or postponing retirement, says the survey of 500 men and women turning 60 this year with at least $1 million in investable assets.

   And 23% of affluent boomers say they are changing their investment strategy and most are investing more conservatively in vehicles such as money market funds and bonds.

   "Unfortunately, these investors are actually putting their retirement at greater risk since bonds and money-market funds have trouble keeping pace with inflation," says Jim Bell, president of Bell Investment Advisors in Oakland, Calif. "Equities, along with commodities, will better allow boomers to maintain their standard of living over decades. An economic slowdown is measured in months in contrast to retirement, which will last several decades for most boomers."

   Women report more economic stress than men (35% versus 24%) and boomers in the Northeast (36%) and West (34%) report more stress than those in the Midwest (27%) and South (25%).