Financial stability and independence have taken a back seat for American boomers' retirement plans

·3-min read

Over half of American boomers are worried they'll never be able to retire due to the COVID-19 pandemic - according to new research.

A new survey of 2,567 boomers* (about 2,200 of whom are not retired) found 52% of those not currently retired are worried COVID-19 has made such an impact on their lives that they'll never be able to fully do so. 

The poll analyzed boomers' retirement plans as well as their non-negotiables for when the time comes.

Prior to COVID-19, 56% of all boomers polled said their top non-negotiable for retirement was maintaining their financial stability and independence - this has now dropped to just 35% with the impact of the pandemic, meaning this is now less of a priority.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of CNO Financial Group's Center for a Secure Retirement, the survey found saving money has taken a backseat to family. The new top priority for retirement after COVID-19 is spending lots of time with family and grandchildren (43%).

Next in line for non-negotiables included maintaining an active lifestyle (34%) and being able to travel (30%). A quarter of respondents also said living close to family and friends is another retirement must-have.

It's no wonder over four in 10 respondents want to spend more time with their families and 25% want to live closer to them, as over half (53%) of boomers surveyed said the biggest impact the pandemic had on them was not being able to spend as much time with their loved ones. 

Despite not being able to see each other, 41% of those polled said they've had to financially support other members of their family - which has greatly impacted their retirement plans. For those financially supporting their family during COVID-19, 75% also said their own retirement savings have taken a hit in order to do this for their families.

For all those polled who aren't retired (just over 2,200 respondents), 61% said the pandemic made them realize they will need more money to actually live a comfortable retirement.

"Determining what to prioritize financially as you prepare for and enter retirement can be challenging. And the strains retirees and pre-retirees have experienced as a result of the pandemic have shone a spotlight on this reality," said Scott Goldberg, President, Consumer Division at CNO Financial Group. "Amid these newly defined retirement non-negotiables, boomers need to regain control to plan a secure retirement that they deserve. The Center for a Secure Retirement website offers a wealth of topical lifestyle, finances, and health advice, so boomers can confidently navigate their retirement decisions."

Over half (53%) of non-retired boomers surveyed also said they've had to tap into their retirement savings to pay for daily expenses during the pandemic.

Fifty-three percent of respondents who aren't retired said they've had to completely reevaluate their overall retirement plan - with the top concern being how much money they need to retire comfortably (63%).

Other reevaluations for these respondents included making changes to their lifestyle and improve their health - and even think about future caregiving needs (44%).

In terms of overall impact on their retirement, the survey shows that women have fared better financially than men amid the pandemic. In fact, 61% of women said they've been able to save more for retirement than expected as a result of COVID, while 26% of men said the same.

"The vision of what constitutes a happy retirement may have shifted for many following the experience of the pandemic. But this reassessment can be the first and most important step in progressing toward an understanding of what retirement plan to pursue, and setting achievable goals for a rewarding retirement," said Goldberg. "Amid these changes in retirement expectations, it's important to have real-world insights and guidance, which is why we've created the Center for a Secure Retirement."

*All 2,567 American baby boomers (aged 57-75) surveyed were of middle income ($30,000-$100,000 annual household income) with less than $1 million in investable assets.

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