U.S. consumers say the weak economy is hurting their efforts to prepare for retirement.

Researchers at AARP, Washington, have published that finding in a summary of results from recent telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. residents ages 45 and older.

About 81% of the participants in the survey, which was conducted in April, said they believe the economy is in fairly bad or very bad condition.

About 27% of the working participants said they have postponed plans to retire due to the recent economic downturn.

About 25% of participants ages 45 to 64 said they are taking money out of 401(k) plans and other retirement and investment arrangements early to cope with their expenses.

About 63% of the participants said they have some exposure to the stock market, and 72% of those participants said they had lost money on their portfolios in the past year.