Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Pandemic Has Americans Rethinking Retirement

Many say they plan to work longer, save more

2ATWFB9 African chefs having fun while cooking
Alamy Stock Photo

More than half (54 percent) of American workers plan to continue to work in retirement because of the financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 40 percent saying they want a safety net to cover unexpected costs and to act as a buffer against future market volatility, according to a new survey.

member card

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

The poll of 1,005 U.S. adults, released by Voya Financial, an investment management firm, also found that Gen Xers, at 60 percent, are the generation most likely to say they plan to work during retirement. Boomers are close behind, at 59 percent, followed by millennials, at 49 percent.

See more Entertainment offers >

"We're in a time period where the definition of retirement is evolving and will continue to evolve as a result of COVID-19,” Charlie Nelson, chief executive officer of retirement and employee benefits at Voya Financial, said in an email. “However, retirement for many individuals means more than just financial needs and could include concerns of health, but sometimes it means a desire for a mental well-being."

Nelson noted that the survey showed that money isn't the only factor. It found that 56 percent of respondents would prefer to continue working in retirement to stay mentally alert and to maintain their cognitive ability.

"It's clear people are thinking about retirement in a more holistic fashion,” Nelson said.

The pandemic also has changed workers’ financial priorities. An additional survey of participants in Voya-managed plans found that of those who recently changed their savings rate, 70 percent increased their contributions.

"COVID-19 has reminded everyone about the important role workplace benefits, including retirement savings, can [have] to help weather market volatility,” Nelson said.

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.