A new study from Fidelity Investments that looked at how the past pandemic year has affected Americans’ retirement plans found strong support for the important role that planning can play in helping people weather the storm.
The study uncovered several areas of opportunity advisors may want to keep in mind when it comes to helping clients understand the importance of planning.
Eight in 10 Americans in study said the past pandemic year negatively affected their retirement plans, and a third estimated that it will take them two to three years get back on track.
At the same time, the vast majority of study participants said they remain confident that they will be able to retire when and how they want. Indeed, 36% say they are even more confident in their retirement plan than they were a year ago.
Fidelity suggested that the pandemic itself may have generated that confidence. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they had reevaluated their priorities since last March, and 7 in 10 made changes to improve their retirement preparedness.
The findings showed that although the level of concern had diminished in some areas since the start of the pandemic, compared with the pre-pandemic world, people were still more stressed than before on several fronts.
For Generation Z and millennials, the top concern was running out of money and having to cut back over time. Gen Xers worried most about not being able to retire when they want, and baby boomers said becoming sick was what kept them up at night.
“This past year has been a roller coaster, but for those Americans with a retirement plan, it should come as a relief to know the fundamentals remain sound,” Melissa Ridolfi, senior vice president of retirement and cash management at Fidelity Investments, said in a statement.
“Although the survey indicates 36% of Americans are more concerned now than at the start of the pandemic on their ability to maintain a nest egg in retirement, at Fidelity, we saw retirement savings accounts reach record levels reach record levels in the fourth quarter of 2020 and also experienced record levels of planning engagements with clients throughout the year.”
The online survey was conducted in mid-February among 1,204 adult financial decision-makers who were not retired.
But while many savers are confident, there is a lot that they don’t know. Check out the gallery above for six common knowledge gaps among Fidelity’s survey participants.