With both health and economic challenges having shaped 2021, those saving for retirement in 2022 will face important obstacles, such as managing a retirement savings gap, battling rising inflation and becoming informed enough to make quick decisions to potentially boost returns. Here's what you need to know about these 2022 retirement investment trends and how to stay ahead of potential roadblocks.

1. Retirement Longevity Is Evolving

In spite of the fact that life expectancy declined in 2020 due to the pandemic, long retirement is still very possible. And the length of retirement for most Americans is still increasing.

One in 5 65-year-old men will reach the age of 90. Likewise, around 35 percent of women who are age 65 will do the same. Longer lifespans are great. However, this also means that a lot of retirees are underprepared for the many years they have left beyond retirement.

With more years in retirement, earlier planning and saving grow even more important. Instead of planning for 10 or 20 years of relying on retirement savings, more time should be anticipated.

2. Retiree Healthcare Expenses Continue to Grow

Planning for expenses is one of the most important parts of planning for retirement. Several expenses must be accounted for, but healthcare costs are one of the biggest. Many retirees will rely on coverages offered through Medicare.

Nevertheless, Medicare doesn't cover everything, and plans can vary. Unfortunately, underestimating healthcare costs leads to insufficient retirement funds for financial support in the long term.

Consider the following numbers. The average out-of-pocket expense for households with Medicare in 2019 was over $6,800. This means if you live for 10 years after retirement, you need at least $68,000 to cover medical expenses. As noted earlier, most retirement funds will have to cover far more than a decade. Medical care costs can constitute 13 percent or more of total expenditures for seniors.

3. Most Retirees Don't Remain Employed

A lot of people (63 percent, in fact) anticipate keeping some type of employment even after they retire from their full-time positions. Keeping some type of employment and a steady income stream can definitely prolong retirement funds. However, even with intentions to do so, most retirees do not remain employed.

One of the most prominent reasons retirees do not remain employed is their health or physical limitations. For many, finding fitting employment is not feasible in the face of illness or challenges.

Only about 15 percent of retirees work in their retirement years. Those that do typically hold part-time positions. Part-time income can help retirees hold off on collecting Social security payments and using up their retirement funding. However, the best-laid plans will be made with the understanding that post-retirement employment may not be possible.

4. Alternative Investments Take Up More Space in Retirement Portfolios

For the longest time, retirement portfolios were most commonly made up of three types of assets: Cash investments, stocks, and bonds. While those traditional investments are assuredly valuable for retirement, alternative investments now take up more space. The average retirement portfolio or plan does involve some type of alternative investment.

Alternative investments exist outside the influence of traditional markets. Further, they come in many forms. Therefore, they can be a good way to pad a portfolio with assets. Several types of alternative investments exist, such as real estate, cryptocurrency, luxury goods, and venture capital.

Since investing in alternative assets is easier now thanks to , more people do take advantage. A large portion of retirement portfolios contains some type of alternative asset. Additionally, in modern times, these assets sometimes account for more than traditional assets.

5. Counteract Inflation

It's hard not to notice the rising cost of food and goods. The effects of inflation — expected to last into 2022 — will impact retirement savings accounts through lower returns on investments. Experts say to combat a lower return, you should place a heavier focus on saving more and/or working longer to compensate for the fluctuation in return on investment.

But even when returns take a dip, don't panic. Remember, the goal with retirement savings is to focus on the long-term. You may not want to pull your money out of a plan at the first sign of trouble. Historically, market lows have eventually returned to market highs. Be prepared to ride the wave.

6. Increase Your Financial Knowledge

Riding the wave doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a passive . Learning a few strategies may help you do a better job of actively managing your investments, allowing you to quickly take advantage of potential market highs.

One option: Consider monitoring market changes and investor data. This way you'll know if you need to quickly pivot to improve your financial outlook. The more you know about your money, the more you'll know what to do with it. However, if you're close to retirement and you can't reduce the savings gap and you're not able to take advantage of potentially high-risk-high-reward strategies, focus on reducing your retirement living outlook. Basically, find ways to live off less retirement income each month.

Keeping an Eye on the Trends Stabilizes Your Financial Future

As it goes with every facet of finance in life, the only true thing constant is change. Therefore, keeping an eye on the constantly evolving retirement trends is a smart financial decision. Simple things like longevity and medical expense inflation totally dictate how long your retirement fund lasts. Likewise, certain investment moves now totally alter the course of your financial future later.

Be sure to work with a retirement planner to get your retirement in order. Revisit often to adjust as the tides of time influence the finances of your future retired self.