COVID-19 pandemic may be the catalyst to more retirement savings

COVID-19 pandemic may be the catalyst to more retirement savings

A woman walks on top of a wooden fence, her husband holding hand to help her balance

Difficult financial year has Americans pledging to seek financial advice

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., Jan. 27, 2021 — The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy had Americans tightening their belts, and it may be the catalyst that now drives them to spend less and save more.

That’s according to a new survey from Empower Retirement and Personal Capital1 that asks working and retired Americans how the coronavirus economy has affected them and their savings plans. The results show that Americans are worried about the overall economy, but they are committed to setting and reaching their financial goals.

Survey results and analysis are detailed in a research paper, "In Unchartered Waters, Savers Keep Both Hands on the Tiller."

The pandemic highlighted the importance of saving, according to the survey. When asked about their financial goals, “saving for retirement” and “paying off personal debt” topped their lists. Survey respondents said they want to spend more time planning their finances and learn more about financial strategies.

The uncertainty of the economy, even as a coronavirus vaccine rolls out, has sparked more interest in expert financial advice. Survey results show 83% of respondents said they want to minimize worrying about their finances this year, mainly through increased savings.

Setting goals

  • 52% of respondents said they will seek more guidance when it comes to their financial strategies.
  • 33% said they are more likely to work with financial professionals as opposed to 24% at the onset of the pandemic.
  • 41% of survey respondents said they plan to spend less money on non-essential items.
  • 38% percent plan to save more of each paycheck they receive.

“This past year has been difficult for so many Americans. Those faced with financial hardships found themselves changing or adjusting their financial plans,” said Stephen Jenks, Empower Retirement Chief Marketing Officer. “But this tough year also has inspired some workers and retirees to reexamine their financial goals and seek expert advice on the best strategies to help them achieve a secure retirement.”

The survey shows people are determined to save more and be prepared for the future, no matter what happens, and they are looking for advice on how to move forward financially in the new year.

“COVID-19 impacted every person in different and often exhaustive ways,” said Craig Birk, CFP, Chief Investment Officer at Personal Capital. “So many families suffered loss, hundreds of thousands of small businesses closed and millions of jobs vanished. For others, working remotely has had positive aspects.

“The good news is, for many, it’s not too late to turn things around. Working and retired Americans are saying they want to save early, often and aggressively.”

About Empower Retirement

Headquartered in metro Denver, Empower Retirement administers approximately $884 billion in assets for more than 12 million2 retirement plan participants as of December 31, 2020. It is the nation’s second-largest retirement plan recordkeeper by total participants.3 Empower serves all segments of the employer-sponsored retirement plan market: government 457 plans; small, midsize and large corporate 401(k) clients; non-profit 403 (b) entities; private-label recordkeeping clients; and IRA customers. Personal Capital, a subsidiary of Empower Retirement, is an industry-leading hybrid wealth manager. For more information please visit and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About Personal Capital

Personal Capital, an Empower Company is a remote-delivery, industry-leading digital wealth management company that helps people transform their financial lives through technology and advisory services. The company’s state-of-the-art tools and technology provide investors with a complete financial picture, utilized by millions of users and tens of thousands of clients. Its registered investment advisors provide expert guidance, and customized strategies, based on a personal understanding of an investor’s financial picture and goals. Personal Capital currently manages more than $16 billion in assets (as of December 17, 2020) virtually delivered from offices across the United States. For more information, please visit or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:

Empower Retirement:

Stephen Gawlik,, 617-417-4408

Monica Mendoza,, 719-373-2460

Learn More:

To learn more about how we’re empowering plan sponsors and their participants to be more engaged in their retirement plans than ever before, call us at 800-719-9914.