What You Need to Know
- A Nationwide survey found 69% of participants see another pandemic in their lifetime.
- The vast majority of respondents say they didn't change their retirement plans due to the pandemic.
- Higher inflation and Social Security depletion were two key concerns.
A majority of U.S. adults — 69% — think there will be another pandemic in their lifetime, and think that prioritizing self-care and mental health now will help them save on health care in the future, according to a new survey by Nationwide, which looked at the health, financial and retirement factors that most worry millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers.
In addition, 60% said they were “terrified” of what a global health care crisis might do to their retirement plans, and 68% believed there would be a market crash in the next five years, according to the online survey of 1,817 adults 25 and older. The Harris Poll conducted the survey between Aug. 5 and Aug. 24.
Also, 89% of those surveyed believed that health and wellness were their top priority. Indeed, 65% agreed with the statement that “years from now, I’ll be saying that I wish I would have taken better care of my health.”
A majority of those surveyed, 71%, have received the COVID-19 vaccine, while another 9% plan to get one. However, 20% do not plan on getting one, and their reasons include concern about the vaccine’s safety (47%), lack of trust in government (28%) and lack of trust in the vaccine manufacturers (26%). Fifteen percent said they were not concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The survey focused on health factors, however several questions looked at the state of retirement savings and how it’s related to health factors. For example, 53% of participants stated they worry more about their financial stability now than they did before the pandemic. This was especially prevalent among millennials, of whom 67% stated they were more worried versus 40% of baby boomers.
Other findings include:
- As a result of the pandemic, 14% dipped into an emergency fund, 26% paid off debt faster, and 31% slowed down or paused payments on student loans.
- Of those surveyed, 35% participated in a health savings account plan. Most of those, 61%, plan to use it for current health expenses.
Respondents also said situations that most worried them when it came to retirement planning were inflation (36%) while Social Security running out of funds was second (28%.)
Women were more concerned about Social Security running out of funds (25% vs. 31%) and less likely than men to worry about paying higher taxes (16% vs. 22%).
Of current retirees, 39% wished they would have saved more for retirement, although women were less likely to say this than men (33% vs. 45%).