Financial planners are reporting that 19% of the calls they got in the first quarter were about retirement planning, up from 13% in the fourth quarter, according to a report by Financial Finesse, a trends researcher in Manhattan Beach, Calif. The firm analyzed 1,340 phone and e-mail queries sent to its 10 financial consultants.

To be fair, most people last year were still too shell-shocked by the financial crisis to be so forward-thinking. The report said, though, that people are starting to shift from a reactive, "how am I going to make ends meet?" attitude, to more proactive, goal-driven planning.

"With consumers finally getting their debt to a more manageable level, and with more of a long-term focus back to their retirement plans, this provides a window of opportunity for advisers to seek out additional clients that are hungry to get back on track with investing for their futures," said Linda Robertson, a certified financial planner at the firm.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.