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Half of Older Investors Still Smarting From 2020 Market Downturn: Survey

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What You Need to Know

  • Stock market returns don't reflect reality for many older investors, senior advocate Mary Johnson says.
  • Only 21% of respondents saw their retirement savings grow in 2020.
  • Many retirees likely have a large share of their savings in bonds, CDs and money market funds, Johnson says.

Almost 48% of those 65 or older said their retirement savings did not recover from 2020 pandemic-recession losses despite the stock market ending 16% up for the year, according to a recent survey by The Senior Citizens League.

In trying to determine the impact of the pandemic recession on retirees, the advocacy group found that 18% of the 833 participants didn’t have any retirement savings. Of those who did:

  • 48% saw retirement savings decrease.
  • 31% had the same value of savings as at the end of 2019.
  • 21% saw savings increase in 2020.

“There’s no doubt about it, the coronavirus-caused recession is forcing many adults to rethink retirement plans,” said Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for TSCL, in a statement.

She explained in an email to ThinkAdvisor that “certainly stock market performance that we saw in 2020 may not be reflecting reality for many older investors, particularly if they are following conventional wisdom and have a large percentage of savings in bonds, CDs and money market funds.”

Those instruments have low yields right now, and it is unlikely many older Americans were able to purchase stocks during the market drop in 2020, she added.

When asked how the pandemic is affecting their retirement savings, 11% said savings were down less than 10%, 23% said they were down between 10% and 25%, and 14% said they were down by more than 25%.

Twelve percent said they were up by less than 10%. Only 1% said their retirement savings increased more than 25%.

(Photo: Shutterstock)


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