In April 2020, the unemployment rate for workers aged 65 and over climbed to 15.6%, the highest rate on record for this cohort. It also created the largest gap on record between that age group and workers aged 25 to 54, whose rate was three percentage points lower.
However, Pew’s survey found that a majority of older Americans were not planning to change their retirement plans. Only 16% said they would retire later than expected due to Covid-19.
The investigation was conducted at the height of the pandemic between May and June 2020 as part of a larger retirement planning study underway at Pew. Respondents included 1,125 close and recent retirees aged 55 to 75, who have saved at least $ 30,000 for their retirement.
Only 12% of workers aged 55 to 58 said they plan to delay their retirement due to Covid-19. This percentage rose to 17% for people aged 59 to 62; 28% for 63 to 67 year olds; 34% for people aged 68 to 70; and 26% for people aged 71 to 75.
Future retirement plans were not necessarily linked to a lack of savings. Notably, the cohort that saved $ 100,000 to $ 149,999 had the most people who said they intended to delay retirement, with just under 3 in 10 respondents. This was the highest rate. compared to the smallest and largest income brackets.
Meanwhile, about 3 in 10 respondents who are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits said they plan to retire later.
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One factor that determines whether retirees reach their expected retirement date on time: the advice they receive from their employer. Those with less support were more likely to say they planned to postpone their retirement, according to the report.
It should be noted that the survey found that only 11% of respondents who are working or who are retired had withdrawn extra money from their retirement account in the midst of Covid-19. Of those who did, 64% said it was caused by an unexpected expense compared to 14% who said it was linked to a pandemic. (The remaining responses have not been broken down.)
The low withdrawal rates may have been helped by the record amounts of stimulus money Americans received through direct checks or unemployment benefits, according to the report.
The stock market’s recovery from its March 2020 lows could also have improved the overall outlook for older workers.