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How COVID-19 Could Affect your Retirement Savings

COVID-19 has not only affected the way in which millions of individuals live and work each day; economists have noted that it could have disastrous effects on retirement savings as well – with some even being wiped out completely. Below are a few ways in which the current pandemic could have a negative effect on your retirement funding and plans.

  1. Retirement Savings worth Trillions of Dollars could Vanish

During 2008, the Russell 3000 index that reflects the performance of the whole US stock market lost almost 40% in value. This resulted in the value of several US retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and numerous private retirement accounts falling by approximately 25% – effectively erasing as much as $2 trillion in retirement savings. 

So far in 2020, the Russell 3000 Index fell by 25%, and this has decimated as much as $3.8 trillion in retirement savings funds and accounts.

  1. Some Employers may Cut matching Contributions for 401(k) Accounts

More than 10 million employees have filed claims for unemployment benefits in the past few weeks, and those that have been laid off are also no longer able to contribute to their 401(k) plans. 

Virtually all employers that provide 401(k) plans for employees offer to match contributions up to predetermined amounts, and these matches usually average up to 5% of an employee’s earnings. However, as the economy takes a nosedive, several employers are cutting costs wherever possible – with these matching contributions often being the first in line to be reduced or even eliminated. 

  1. Employees may have to Dip into Retirement Accounts

When financial emergencies arise – such as having income eliminated during the current pandemic – several individuals have no other option but to dip into their retirement accounts just to put food on the table or avoid being evicted from their homes. 

If the funds withdrawn from these retirement accounts are not repaid, this will result in many employees not having sufficient capital to see them through retirement. 

  1. Some Employees may have to Retire Earlier than Planned

Many older employees who have been laid off as a result of the pandemic may be forced to take early retirement if their places of work don’t reopen or staff numbers are reduced upon opening. In many cases, older employees are among the first to be laid off when companies have to cut expenses. 

Although Social Security provides a financial lifeline to unemployed individuals who are over the age of 62, beneficiaries who start collecting as soon as they reach 62 will receive up to 30% less funding than if they had been able to hold out until reaching age 66 and 8 months.

It’s clear that the pandemic will have a negative effect on the value of retirement accounts for the foreseeable future. However, this doesn’t mean that all is lost where your savings are concerned. If you would like to find out how you can get your retirement savings back on track or you’d like to start planning safor this time of your life, contact our advisers today.

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