One Out of Three Americans Plan to Delay Retirement Due to Pandemic, New Study Says

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A new study confirmed what many had suspected would happen after COVID-19 swept through the United States, which is that the pandemic might cause a large percentage of Americans to delay their retirement plans.

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The study, called “The Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes,” was released by Age Wave and Edward Jones this month. It found that roughly one out of every three Americans planning to retire think they will now retire later due to the pandemic.

Among the study’s conclusions is that the pandemic “has reshaped retirement.” This was borne out in the fact that as of March 2021, about 69 million Americans said the pandemic “has altered their retirement timing.” That number represents a decline from the peak of 81 million Americans in December 2020.

The results came from three tracking surveys conducted between May 2020 and March 2021. The most recent poll, conducted in March, included 2,042 adults ages 18 and up.

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Among the other key findings:

  • As of March, about 14 million people said they had stopped contributing to their retirement accounts, down from 22 million in December 2020.
  • Only 41% of women say they are saving each month for retirement vs. 58% of men.
  • About 44% of pre-retirees said they were negatively impacted by the pandemic compared with 22% of retirees.
  • Sixty-one percent of retirees said they wish they had done a better job of planning financially for retirement.

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As Forbes noted last week, a separate study conducted by the Society of Actuaries found that the Covid-19 pandemic had a very mixed financial impact on Americans, with those who suffered a significant employment disruption likely to feel a bigger pinch on their retirement savings.

According to that study, about 40% Millennials and 30% of Gen Xers and Late Boomers have changed or are considering changing when they plan to retire, with about 60% of these people delaying retirement. Millennials, Gen Xers and Late Boomers also said that they expect to retire at a median age of 65.

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Meanwhile, around two-thirds of Early Boomers believe they are on track for a financially secure retirement compared with nearly 60% of the younger generations.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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