As if planning for retirement isn’t complicated enough, baby boomers have been thrown a curveball with the Covid-19 pandemic. As a new study by the Center for a Secure Retirement highlights, the pandemic has impacted boomers’ financial plans and goals, and has caused boomers to reevaluate their priorities.
The pandemic has been financially devastating to many Americans, some more so than others. Businesses have closed, jobs have been lost and people have turned to family and friends for financial help. The study found that more than 4 in 10 middle-class boomers (41%) provided financial assistance to family members during the pandemic. Of those boomers who financially supported family members, virtually all (98%) in turn had their own financial and retirement plans affected. By supporting family members, boomers fell short on their own savings, in some cases put their moving plans on pause, and had to revise their financial and retirement plans in general. See below:
There were some key differences found among demographics. About twice as many women (55%) as men (23%) said having enough money to last through retirement was a concern. This finding is not particularly surprising. Even before the pandemic, it was found that women are more likely than men to struggle financially in retirement, for many different reasons. What may be a bit surprising is that the study found women actually saved more than expected during Covid, compared to men (61% vs 26%).
The same was seen with younger boomers (age 57-70) verse older boomers (age 71-75). Younger boomers (48%) were almost twice as likely to save more than expected than older boomers (27%).
Almost half of respondents who are not yet retired admitted they’ve had to do a complete overhaul on their retirement plans because of the pandemic. The top concern was having enough money to retire comfortably.
While the pandemic has clearly impacted financial plans, it has also created a shift in overall life priorities.
During the early days of quarantine and shutdowns, many Americans were left longing for the days when things were “normal.” Grandparents missed being able to pop in for a visit with their grandchildren, friends missed going to their weekly dinner at their favorite restaurant, people missed going to the gym and traveling. Months of being physically separated from family members and friends served as a catalyst for a shift in priorities. Before the pandemic, more than half of boomers (56%) reported their top non-negotiable for retirement was maintaining financial stability and independence. Now the latest research has revealed the top non-negotiable for retirement among middle-class boomers is spending time with family/grandchildren (43%). Below are the top responses for non-negotiables:
This shift to a more family-focused lifestyle is understandable. After having to replace in-person visits with family and friends with phone calls, texts, and FaceTime calls for so long, people are prioritizing family above all else. Perhaps a silver lining of this pandemic has been its ability to remind people of the importance of these relationships. While this reminder is welcome, it shouldn’t be detrimental to successful financial and retirement planning. For those who might have been thrown off course due to the pandemic, it’s not too late to get back on track.
Boomers looking for guidance with their retirement planning can find the help they need at the Center for a Secure Retirement website. With recently expanded offerings, including educational tools and informational resources, the Center for a Secure Retirement is ready to help boomers navigate post-pandemic life. Boomers can utilize these resources to help them create financial plans that will allow them to meet individual retirement goals. The Center for a Secure Retirement also features a wealth of lifestyle and health information.
As the world tries to move forward while still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, boomers should utilize the Center for a Secure Retirement’s resources and tools to ensure they have a successful and secure retirement.