COVID-19 and Retirement: Impact and Policy Responses   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] has shaken America and the world, causing widespread social and economic upheaval. [...] Some of the impacts of COVID-19 will mostly affect today's retirees, such as the safety of elderly institutions, while low interest rates will impact both today's retirees and those who have yet to leave the labor market. Naturally, the future impacts are generally less certain than those experienced today. This brief discusses the ways these social and economic impacts may transform retirement. Because this pandemic is unique in modern times, there is massive uncertainty about the future, but we will make arguments based on empirical evidence as much as possible. Our central conclusion is that the pandemic will threaten the quality of retirement for today's retirees and near retirees by undercutting resources for retirement, imposing steep (but necessary) social restrictions, and calling into question the safety of institutional care. The impact on future retirees is less certain, but could include weakened public entitlement programs, the need for higher rates of saving, and a heightened focus on community-based care. In the final section of this brief we lay out steps that can be taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, with a particular emphasis on helping older workers and retirees."

Brookings Institution
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