The 7 Top Retirement Priorities of Americans in 2022

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Retired woman on the beach with her dog
Dean Drobot /

Sooner (hopefully) or later, all of us get around to planning for retirement.

If you are younger, you have decades to slowly plan the transition to post-work life. For millions of others, planning our golden years is a last-minute exercise.

Wherever you are in life’s journey, it is important to sort out your priorities regarding retirement.

Recently, AIG Life & Retirement published its Moving Forward study, a survey of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 22 and 76 with household incomes of at least $40,000.

As part of the survey, the finance and insurance company asked respondents to list their top retirement priorities. Following are what they said are their most important goals.

7. Create a will or estate plan

estate planning
Tiko Aramyan /

Respondents who cited this priority: 53%

Even as people age, they are notoriously reluctant to start thinking about the end of their lives. But if you have loved ones or charitable causes dear to your heart, chances are good that you would like to see them continue to thrive after you are gone.

Building the right estate plan can help you leave a legacy. For more, listen to Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson discuss estate planning tips and tricks on the “Money!” podcast.

6. Retirement planning

Older couple reviewing documents
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Respondents who cited this priority: 59%

It’s difficult to build a solid retirement foundation without a little advance planning. Before you retire, you need to ask yourself many questions, including:

  • How will I make sure I have enough income?
  • Where will I live during my golden years?
  • What will I do if I need expensive medical care or long-term care?

These are difficult questions, but the answers will be much easier to uncover if you educate yourself about the options. Start by enrolling in the Money Talks News retirement course The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need.

Stacy Johnson teaches this 14-week course intended for those who are 45 or older. It will teach you everything you need to know to confidently plan your golden years.

5. Secure protected lifetime income for retirement

Senior woman drinking coffee
Inside Creative House /

Respondents who cited this priority: 60%

One of the scariest moments in life arrives the day you stop receiving a paycheck. Even if you have saved diligently during your working years, beginning life without an income can be nerve-wracking.

So it’s no surprise that many folks hope to secure protected lifetime income. One way to achieve this goal is through an annuity.

3. Financial planning (tie)

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Respondents who cited this priority: 63%

If saving for retirement feels overwhelming, it may be time to call in the cavalry. A good financial pro can help you create a battle plan that will leave you victorious in the war against retirement inertia.

Stop by the Money Talks News Solutions Center and find the right financial adviser for you. In most cases, that will be a fee-only financial planner.

For more advice, check out Stacy Johnson’s podcast “How to Pick the Perfect Financial Adviser.”

3. Start or grow an emergency fund (tie)

senior man saving for emergency fund
Creativa Images /

Respondents who cited this priority: 63%

A rainy day can pour down on you without the slightest warning. That is why it is important to have enough cash stashed away to weather the storm.

If you are younger, building this type of fund can leave you more confident to tackle the challenge of saving for retirement. If you are older — perhaps already in retirement — remember that the need for an emergency fund does not disappear with age.

2. Pay off debt

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Respondents who cited this priority: 65%

Debt levels sank in America during the pandemic, but they are on the rise once more. Carrying debt into retirement is like walking around with a lit stick of dynamite. Few things can blow up your golden years faster than growing debt.

So, start to turn things around today. For instance, did you go too deeply into the red during the holiday season? Find your way out of the hole by using the tips in “7 Steps to Quickly Eliminate Your Holiday Debt.”

1. Increase or begin saving for retirement

Happy saver
ESB Professional /

Respondents who cited this priority: 66%

A nest egg starts with the first dime you earmark for retirement. Although the task may seem daunting, history has shown that a well-funded retirement can be easy to achieve for those who commit to saving week after week, year after year.

If you have fallen behind in the race, sprint ahead by reading “7 Fast Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings.”

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