One in three Americans plans to delay retirement due to COVID-19, study says

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One out of every three Americans who plan to retire is set to delay his or her retirement as a result of the pandemic, according to a new study by Edward Jones and Age Wave.

Around 69 million Americans, up from 68 million last year, said strains from the pandemic will force them to retire later than expected.

The survey comes as Americans are just beginning to recover from levels of job losses not seen since World War II in March and April of last year.

The repercussions of unemployment and lost savings during the pandemic will affect people for years to come and are already affecting plans to retire.

The survey found that only 41% of women are saving for retirement each month compared with 58% of men. It also found that 56% of men felt secure in their retirement savings compared with just 40% of women. Although these figures have improved for both men and women, they still lag behind pre-pandemic levels.

For people ages 50 and above who are reaching retirement age, any large, unexpected expense could affect their retirement plans. Among this group, 66% said health care and long-term-care expenses were a big financial worry, the study found.

These pre-retirees were more negatively affected than retirees, the survey said, with 44% of pre-retirees reporting a negative financial impact compared with 22% of retirees.

That said, retirees also faced financial stress owing to the pandemic, with many citing health care and long-term-care costs and unexpected expenses among their top concerns.

Despite the wrench COVID-19 has thrown in many people’s plan for retirement, some have remained optimistic.

Seventy percent of Americans viewed the pandemic as a financial wake-up call, and 33% of those planning to retire are now contributing more to their retirement savings, with Hispanic Americans and millennials most likely to do so.

At the end of 2020, around 22 million Americans had stopped making monthly retirement contributions. In March 2021, that number dropped to 14 million, according to the study.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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