What does it mean to live well in retirement? A five-generation study conducted November 2019 to June 2020 provides some new perspectives on retirement post-COVID-19. The majority of U.S. retirees (55 percent) defined retirement as more than simply the end of work. They consider it a new life chapter filled with new choices, freedoms and challenges across four important areas: health, family, purpose and finance. The study was conducted by Edward Jones in partnership with Age Wave and The Harris Poll.
Retirees Show Resilience
It sheds light on more than retirement, too. The research shows how COVID-19 has impacted the lives, health and outlooks of Americans across multiple generations. Despite the virus’ severe and disproportionate impact on the health of aging adults, older Americans are coping far better than younger ones. About 37 percent of Gen Z and 27 percent of millennials said they’ve suffered mental health declines since the pandemic began. In contrast, only 15 percent of baby boomers and 8 percent of silent generation respondents said the same.
“COVID-19’s impact forever changed the reality of many Americans, yet we’ve observed a resilience among U.S. retirees in contrast to younger generations,” said Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., CEO of Age Wave. “Older Americans tend to recognize the value of a long-term view, and so as they think about their lives, longevity and legacy, they’re able to pull from an array of experiences that help them weather current storms, feel gratitude about many aspects of their lives, and still plan for the future.”
The study also shows COVID-19’s initial economic impact may have long-lasting implications.
Reflecting a great deal of generational generosity, 24 million Americans have provided financial support to adult children due to the pandemic; and 71 percent of retirees said they would offer financial support to their family even if it could jeopardize their own financial future. In addition, 20 million Americans have stopped retirement savings contributions.