Today’s retirees are staying the course with their savings and investing decisions despite the economic uncertainty brought on by the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming U.S. election, according to a recent survey by Principal Financial Group. 

Findings from the quarterly Principal Retirement Security Survey indicate that while most retirees feel they can live comfortably financially in the near future, that confidence wanes when they think longer term. More than 60% report feeling cautious regarding the economic outlook for next year. 

During August and September, Principal surveyed more than 630 retirees and workers across the United States to get a pulse of consumer concerns and actions surrounding saving for retirement, their financial behaviors related to market volatility, COVID-19 and the upcoming election. 

According to the research, the percentage of retirees who report they are happier in retirement decreased from first quarter Principal research conducted before the pandemic (from 51% to 41%). Retirees share that they struggle with imagining their life in retirement and are unsure how they’ll spend their time — citing not being able to travel (61%) or see family (58%) and planning for health care and long-term care costs (44%). 

When it comes to COVID-19, retirees shared their immediate concerns. 
Nearly 60% are concerned about children, teachers and school administrators staying safe during the school year. 
Nearly half say they are worried about long-term financial implications for themselves, their family, their community and the U.S. economy. 
45% are concerned about small businesses in their community staying open. 
Nearly 40% worry the U.S. will enter a deep recession for a protracted length of time. 

“This survey provides useful insights about the issues that are important to retirees and near-retirees in the current environment,” said Sri Reddy, senior vice president of Retirement and Income Solutions at Principal. “Their perspectives and sentiments are important to understand so we can help identify further actions that could help promote their financial security today and into the future.”