A man sits at kitchen table speaking to financial adviser on mobile phone

Retirement as a Last Resort: How Americans cope with financial need

Jul 29, 2020
Empower Institute

Data shows most plan participants want to avoid taking money out of their retirement accounts

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic instability, many Americans are facing difficulty covering their expenses. A recent survey by The Harris Poll sought to find out how workers will cope if they experience financial trouble, and how likely they are to change their retirement plans or take money from their retirement accounts.

The survey results and Empower Retirement data shows that most workers consider withdrawing money early from their retirement accounts a last resort, but it’s an option some may use if they need access to money. The research also found that employees who receive advice from their employers are more likely to protect their retirement accounts and continue making contributions, which means employers can make a difference in helping workers stay on track.

Key findings:

  • When it comes to retirement savings, most Empower Retirement participants are staying the course.
  • Reducing spending is the first action people take when finances are tight.
  • Tapping into retirement savings is often a last resort.
  • As the pandemic continues, it’s important for employers to understand who is at most risk for making decisions that could have long-term negative effects.
research paper download

Download research paper

Latest Empower Institute Articles

Carefully consider the investment option’s objectives, risks, fees and expenses. Contact Empower for a prospectus, summary prospectus for SEC-registered products or disclosure document for unregistered products, if available, containing this information. Read each carefully before investing.

Securities, when presented, are offered and/or distributed by Empower Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. EFSI is an affiliate of Empower Retirement, LLC; Empower Funds, Inc.; and registered investment adviser, Empower Advisory Group, LLC. This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide investment, legal or tax recommendations or advice.  

IMPORTANT: The projections, or other information generated on the website by the investment analysis tool regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. The results may vary with each use and over time.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

Insurance products are issues by or offered through Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America, Corporate Headquarters: Greenwood Village, CO; or in New York, by Empower Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, Home Office: New York, NY. 

The managed account service is part of the Empower Advisory Services suite of services offered by Empower Advisory Group, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

The Empower Institute is a research group within Empower.

“EMPOWER” and all associated logos, and product names are trademarks of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America.

All features may not currently be available and are subject to change without notice. ©2022 Empower Retirement, LLC. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted: Not a Deposit | Not FDIC Insured | Not Bank Guaranteed | Funds May Lose Value | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency.