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Retirement NewsHow the Pandemic Has Shaken Up Retirement | Personal Finance | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors

How the Pandemic Has Shaken Up Retirement | Personal Finance | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors

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Remote work may persuade some to work longer than planned. But when to retire isn’t always in our control, and an early exit can bring financial instability.



Pandemic-related job losses forced many older Americans out of the workplace in the past year, perhaps permanently. But the COVID-19 crisis also seems to have delayed some retirements.

Remote work eliminated commutes and often allowed more flexible schedules with fewer interruptions. At the same time, the pandemic restricted many traditional retirement activities, including travel and visits with family. While some employed older workers look forward to retiring when restrictions ease, others say teleworking has made staying on the job more tenable.

Tax accountant Larry B. Harris of Asheville, North Carolina, found a lot to like about working from home, including more flexibility and less time in his car.

“I’d never worked from home except in a snowstorm. I found that I loved it,” says Harris, 67. “I think it will keep me working longer.”

Uneven recovery, uneven retirement impact

Economists talk about a K-shaped recovery, where a portion of the nation’s industries and population bounce back quickly from recession while others stagnate or continue to sink. Something similar may be happening with baby boomer retirements, as better-off workers gain more options while those with fewer choices lose ground.

The pace of retirements among baby boomers, those born from 1946 to 1964, accelerated during the pandemic, a Pew Research Center analysis of monthly labor force data found. The number of boomers who reported that they were out of the labor force due to retirement grew 3.2 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the previous year. Before the pandemic, the number of retired boomers had been growing an average of 2 million each year since 2011, when the first boomer turned 65.

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