While retirement is still the No. 1 goal of a majority of investors, its importance has fallen slightly since 2003, while other financial concerns have risen in importance. This is according to a survey released by Mercer Human Resources Consulting.

Seventy-six percent say retirement is a goal, down from 85% three years ago. At the same time, 38% say paying down debt is important, up from 25%; 34% cite saving for unexpected expenses, up from 27%; 28% point to a child's education, up from 22%; and 25% say they are preparing for a major purchase or expenditure sometime in the future, up from 20%.

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