Americans’ consumer attitudes and behaviors have shifted dramatically in the past six months, according to an October study by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.

Almost 78% of respondents said income guarantees were a top financial priority, up 16 percentage points from a similar poll in April.

“It's no surprise that attitudes and behaviors have changed, especially given the period of economic instability we're experiencing,” said Barbara Goodstein, executive vice president and chief innovation officer for AXA Equitable. “What is striking, however, is the heightened priority being placed so quickly on securing a stream of lifetime income.”

Approximately 71% of respondents placed a priority on protection from outliving retirement savings, up from 59% six months ago, while protecting against market conditions increased to 68% calling it a priority, versus 53% in April.

The study found that 54% said they have not made financial changes and don’t intend to do so.

The study also found that women are more concerned than men about current market turmoil, with 84% of women saying a guaranteed source of lifetime income was extremely important, compared to 73% of men. Conversely, women are less likely than men to make changes in response to current market conditions. While 55% of men said they had reallocated money in an employer-sponsored account, just 40% of women had done so.

“Women are clearly focused on protecting retirement income and have been responding more conservatively as a result,” Goodstein said. “Regardless of whether you're a man or woman, it's important to evaluate your current financial situation and make the well-informed decisions that help secure a strong financial future.”

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