The effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on the finances of senior citizens in the United States is well-documented, however data indicates that many of those seniors remain generally optimistic about their retirement prospects in spite of such impacts. This is according to a new research brief released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
“Based on the 2020 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), COVID-19 had affected elderly American adults’ work and financial situations to a large extent. But the retirement expectations of these respondents seem to remain the same despite the impacts,” the findings read.
Examining data from before, during and after the onset of the pandemic revealed that overall percentages recording reported impacts of the pandemic on seniors’ finances were not substantively different.
“The average percentages of participants who reported their work was affected by COVID-19 do not differ substantially by their demographic and economic status variations (such as age groups and wage cohorts),” the results read. “However, among those respondents with relatively fewer years of education, male participants are more likely to report their job was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than female participants.”
Succeeding cohorts of older Americans appear to be expecting to have the ability to retire at a continuously later age than their predecessors. However, this new data suggests that this previously observable trend has not been substantially impacted by the onset of COVID-19.
“Elderly American adults did not adjust their retirement expectations significantly, including planned retirement age and Social Security benefit claiming age, despite many respondents indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their work and financial situations in the 2020 [Health and Retirement Study (HRS)],” the results explain.
Data from the 2020 HRS indicated that 60% of respondents reported that their work showed some signs of impact from the pandemic. 55% said that they had to stop work entirely, while 15% of respondents said they lost their jobs permanently as a result of COVID-19. 20% said their work became “harder or more dangerous” due to the pandemic.
However, 76% of respondents also said that their financial situation “remains the same,” while 60% reported that their household spending habits did not change in 2020 when compared to recent pre-pandemic years.
“The results of this study imply that elderly American adults’ retirement expectations remain uninterrupted despite enduring through the COVID-19 impact on their work and financial situations in 2020,” EBRI says of the data.
Read the brief at EBRI’s website.