By: Margarida Correia

Americans 55 and older have taken the 2008 financial crisis as “wake-up call” and are looking for less risky investment strategies. In a study released by AIG Life and Retirement last week, the 55-and-older set said they are far more likely to favor “financial peace of mind” over the pursuit of potentially higher but riskier returns.

“Americans are rightfully concerned about retirement and more careful in their investment strategies,” says Jay Wintrob, president and CEO of AIG Life and Retirement.

More than half of the 3,426 Americans surveyed (54%) were worried about their personal financial situation, saying they felt less financially secure than they did a year ago. The majority (61%) said their top financial priority was saving enough to have peace of mind. Only 14% said their top priority was accumulating as much wealth as possible.

Americans in this age group plan to be decidedly more cautious in their response to the recent economic and financial market uncertainty, according to the survey. Nearly one-third (32%) said they plan to look for ways to protect existing assets. Very few (4%) said they plan to invest more aggressively to make up for lost time.

“In a new era of flux and uncertainty, Americans are rebounding from a difficult period and showing their resilience by turning toward greater expense control and more responsible retirement planning,” says Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a firm that studies population aging.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of AIG Life and Retirement and Age Wave.