Half of their baby boomer clients who postponed retirement because of the economic downturn expect to work at least four years longer than they originally planned, say CPA financial planners in a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

"Boomers have been scarred by the economic turmoil of the past few years and face complex challenges going forward," said Clark M. Blackman II, chair of the AICPA's Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee. "While more optimistic about the markets, 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."

The survey, conducted from January 12 through February 1, found that 52% of CPA financial planners said 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% said their clients were not very confident.

In the AICPA survey, 79% of CPA financial planners said 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% of CPA financial planners said one to three years; 39.3% said four to six years; 9.8% said seven to ten years; and 3.7% 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.

Among other survey findings:
48% of CPA financial planners said their typical client is somewhat or very pessimistic about the U.S. economy amid gaping budget deficits and high unemployment.
51% of CPA financial planners said at least one client was turned down for a mortgage or refinance in the past year. The most common reasons: Lower home values and higher underwriting standards.
44% of CPA financial planners said their average client emerged from the recession with increased net worth and 17 percent saw their net worth stay the same.

The survey was conducted online and made available only to members of the AICPA's Personal Financial Planning practice section. There were 372 responses. The confidence rate is 95%, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.