More Americans are feeling optimistic about their retirement savings, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Country Financial, found that 35% 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-ten (36%) 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.

However, other survey respondents said they are confronting new realities of retirement caused by years of economic instability. A quarter of Americans must delay their retirement by three years or more. This instability might also be why a majority (55%) expect to take a part-time job during retirement to augment their savings.

"It's encouraging many are taking a proactive approach to retirement's new realities," says Keith Brannan, VP of financial security planning. "By regularly updating a long-term savings plan and sticking to it, almost everyone can adapt to economic changes and achieve a secure retirement."

Only one-third of the survey respondents are confident Social Security will pay them all of their promised benefits. Those in the Gen X age group are the least confident. Just 14% of those ages 30 to 39 and 26% of those 40 to 49 believe they will receive their promised benefits.

Forty-one percent of those with a financial planner say less than one-quarter of their retirement income will come from Social Security. Only 25% of those without a planner say the same.

—  Michael Cohn is the editor in chief of Accounting Today, a SourceMedia publication.

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