Last September, I published four posts about the "Four Pillars of the New Retirement," a landmark study by Edward Jones, Age Wave and The Harris Poll that delved into living well in retirement in four key areas: Health, Family, Purpose and Finances. This study has now been updated to reflect the specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the perceptions of each generation about retirement; the new study is appropriately titled "What a Difference a Year Makes."
According to the study, 76 percent of Americans across all generations say the pandemic helped them "refocus on what's most important in life." There were other important statistics that came out of the study. I've cherry-picked a few data points that should be of most interest to Boomers:
- 61 percent of retirees say the pandemic gave them "more appreciation for what makes life meaningful"
- 53 percent of retirees say they now have “greater empathy and compassion for people who are struggling in ways that they are not”
- 69 percent of retirees believe "having a sense of purpose in life is important to achieving optimal wellbeing"
- 67 percent of retirees say "spending time with loved ones provides them with the greatest source of meaning, purpose and fulfillment"
- nearly all retirees (93 percent) believe it’s important to feel useful in retirement, and 87 percent agree that being useful actually “makes them feel youthful”
- 89 percent of retirees now believe “there should be more ways for retirees to put their talents and knowledge to use for the benefit of their communities and society”
- 66 percent of pre-retirees age 50-plus now cite healthcare and long-term care expenses as a major worry
- 70 percent of Americans across all generations see the pandemic as a "financial wake-up call," and 69 million people say the pandemic altered their retirement timing.
The creators of the study reached some interesting conclusions, among them:
- "Powerful forces have converged to reshape retirement, including the COVID-19 pandemic, altering retirement timing and savings for tens of millions of Americans."
- "The financial fallout from the pandemic has been unequally distributed."
- "Women's confidence in their retirement savings continues to drop while men's is rebounding."
- There is a potential wellspring of retirees interested in being a force for social good."
- The majority of retirees wish they had done a better job planning for both the financial and the non-financial aspects of retirement."
I would add my own reflection on the study: Americans in general, and Boomers in particular, have proven to be remarkably resilient. Even in the face of crisis and tragedy, Boomers find a way to rise up and prevail.
You can download a copy of both the original and updated studies here: