MetLife Retirement & Income Solutions

2022 Paycheck or Pot of Gold Study

Feb 23, 2022

MetLife's study looks at the Great Retirement Decision.

In this study:

  • Do pre-retirees and retirees think it's valuable to have guaranteed retirement income?
  • Do retirees' experiences with taking a lump sum meet with their expectations? 
  • How quickly do retirees deplete their lump sums?
In the last five years

Looking at the state of today’s workplace, many employers are focused on the “great resignation” (a mass exodus from the workforce), or the “great reshuffle” (job or career moves that better align with workers’ values). However, there is another workplace priority that needs attention now: the “great retirement decision.” 

The “great retirement decision” is whether to take one’s accumulated savings as a paycheck (i.e., monthly annuity payments) or a perceived “pot of gold” (i.e., a lump sum) – or some combination of the two.


90 %

of pre-retirees think it's valuable to have guaranteed monthly income to pay their bills

89 %

of pre-retirees would like a partial annuity/partial lump sum option

82 %

of pre-retirees would pick the annuity over the lump sum if they had to choose

Not All Retirement Income Options Created Equally

Income annuities purchased at the point of retirement, such as an immediate annuity or a longevity annuity with an income benefit paid later in life, are among the most efficient ways for workers to access guaranteed monthly income from a DC plan. 

Nearly AllRetirees WhoTook

96 % Their budget is more predictable
96 % They are better off financially
95 % They feel more financially secure
94 % It makes it easier to pay for basic necessities
87 % They have greater flexibility for potentially more aggressive strategies with other investments

Did you know?

More women (43%) than men (29%) have already depleted their lump sums in retirement1


By expanding access to guaranteed lifetime income solutions, employers can empower plan participants to confidently transition into retirement – and help ensure their retirement savings lasts. 

Want more insights from the 2022 Paycheck or Pot of Gold Study?


1 The time in which their lump sums were depleted were 4.5 years for women versus 5.6 years for men.

MetLife’s Retirement & Income Solutions division, the company’s institutional retirement business, issues products through Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, two wholly owned subsidiaries of MetLife, Inc. Retirement & Income Solutions issues group annuities for pension risk transfer and institutional income annuities, structured settlement annuities, stable value, funding agreements, benefits funding, and longevity reinsurance. Pension risk transfer products are issued by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, which are licensed in all 50 states.

All guarantees are subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing MetLife company.