Americans' confidence in their ability to retire appears to be stabilizing, according to an annual survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington.

The EBRI's retirement confidence survey measured record drops in public confidence in 2008 and 2009.

But preparation for retirement appears to be getting worse. According to the EBRI, a growing percentage of employees reported they had virtually no savings and investments. More than half of employees said they had less than $25,000 in total savings and investments, excluding their homes.

According to the EBRI, 46% of employees reported that they or their spouse had tried to calculate how much money they would need to save for retirement. More people expect to work after 65 — up to 33% in 2010 from 11% in 1991. "Working longer is one way to help fund retirement but the research shows that a significant number of workers end up having to quit sooner than planned because of health issues or layoffs," said Daniel J. Houston, the president of retirement, insurance and financial services at Principal Financial Group, which underwrote the annual survey.

"All the more reason for workers to give themselves more options by saving effectively in the first place."

The EBRI's 20th annual retirement confidence survey, which was released Tuesday, is the longest running such survey in the U.S.

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