Pandemic perspectives: How government employees are gaining financial confidence

Pandemic perspectives: How government employees are gaining financial confidence

A construction worker stands at a building site

Move over, COVID-19. Government workers are on a mission.

While the global pandemic, including the recent surge of the delta variant, has caused unimaginable challenges over the past year for millions of Americans, public sector employees have been stepping up in every imaginable way to get on the right financial track.1 They mean business, too. From saving more to spending less to sacrificing often, they’ve been doing a little of everything to pursue their longterm goals.2

“Everything changed,” says Kerri Smith, who works for the state of Wisconsin. “It really made me think about my future.”

Smith isn’t alone.

Through in-depth interviews with government savers, Empower Retirement has found that preparing for retirement remained a primary objective for most during the COVID-19 crisis. What was their secret? Despite facing a wide array of extraordinary events, such as doing their jobs remotely for the first time and dealing with heavy bouts of COVID fatigue,3 government employees protected their future by:

  • Making it “work”
  • Reshaping financial habits
  • Focusing forward
  • Getting guidance

As the leading provider of governmental deferred compensation programs in the nation, Empower recently met virtually with several government employees to see how their financial habits and strategies changed over the past year. While their views, circumstances and priorities were all unique, many were able to maintain a frugal approach in 2020 and focus on staying the course.4

For most, gaining financial confidence came through receiving the same valuable benefit — financial advice.

Downloadable document. Pandemic Perspectives research paper.


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1 Empower Institute and Personal Capital, “Back to (Financial) Basics,” January 2021.

2 Empower Financial Wellness Survey, April 2021.

3 Empower Institute, “Staying strong: How government retirement plans are fighting COVID fatigue,” September 2020.

4 Empower Institute, “‘State’ of the pandemic: How government retirement plans are tackling COVID-19,” April 2020.