How has your retirement plan changed?
More than a year ago the unthinkable, at least for most of us, happened. Our lives were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We cancelled our travel plans, bought face masks and connected with family and friends via Skype, Facetime and Zoom. Indeed, our new normal felt for most of us to be very abnormal. No more parties. No more concerts. No more movies.
Suddenly, many of us felt vulnerable. We lost friends and loved ones to the virus, and we were unable to hug one another in expression of our grief and caring. Furthermore, no one seemed to know how long this new abnormal normal would last.
Today, we are one year closer to full recovery. Many of us chose to get vaccinated. Just as the discovery of vaccines led to the end of the Spanish Flu pandemic, so did the development of Pfizer, Moderna, J&J and Astra Zeneca vaccines accelerate our emergence from the Great Pandemic of the 21st Century.
As we emerge and relaunch our post-pandemic lives, I ponder the changes that are affecting you. If you are still working, have you decided to postpone your retirement? If so, you are not alone. A study by Pew Research indicated that the Baby Boom generation was staying in the workforce in greater numbers than previously recorded, largely due to greater number of women who have been in the workforce. Then the pandemic hit and the pace of retirements in this same age group increased by 3.2 million, more than in previous years (see "The number of retired Baby Boomers rose more from 2019 to 2020 than in prior years" by Pew Research.) Women are especially concerned about the future of their retirement as the pandemic adversely impacted this group more than other groups.
If you are amongst those who remain employed, you may be delaying retirement due to concerns about your financial security in retirement. Health care costs, a significant portion of the retirement budget, have increased. You might also be worried that the financial markets that have been favorable to your 401K accounts will become less favorable.
Perhaps you are among those who retired earlier than anticipated as a result of job loss. According to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy, workers older than 55 experienced higher unemployment rates than younger workers. This is especially true for those who are women, Black and those without college degrees.
The new financial reality you are facing affects more than your wallet. Where you live, your relationships, and what you do after that first cup of coffee in the morning are not immune to how the pandemic altered your retirement plans.
Do you have a financial adviser to guide your financial decisions? Good! Even better if you are also working with a retirement coach to help you develop strategies for your retirement lifestyle priorities. Aligning your financial and retirement lifestyle strategies will best prepare you for a satisfying lifestyle extending beyond your World of Work. Prepare yourself for a ReLaunched Life that can navigate unexpected detours.
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