Originally  published: 5/26/2020.

During a crisis, all your planning – and retirement planning especially – can take a major hit. Falling stock markets, rising inflation,  the need to pause contributions to a plan or even withdraw or borrow against retirement funds can all threaten to derail a secure financial future. New data from New York Life found that although Boomers are feeling the most rattled by recent events, they have revealed an important lesson for all generations: It is critical to plan ahead to hedge against the unexpected.

Boomers are least confident about the near-term

New York Life polled Americans in late March and early April to assess their feelings about their finances during COVID-19. The results showed that Boomers’ near-term confidence has taken a greater hit than that of other generations: 

How much more or less confident do the following considerations make you feel about the status of your savings? (Respondents answering “somewhat less or much less confident”)

Recent news (such as, but not limited to, economic, health, technology, political, and world news)

Your economic outlook for the next 10 years

Your economic outlook for the next year

Boomers: Age 56-74




Generation X: Age 40-55




Millennial: Age 24-39





But Taking the Long View, Boomers Feel Good About Retirement

However, our survey also found that Boomers are consistently more confident than younger generations in their retirement savings. When we polled Americans in early April, 53% of Boomers said they were confident that their retirement savings would last the rest of their lives.


% Confident

Boomers: Age 56-74


Generation X: Age 40-55


Millennial: Age 24-39


A key reason Boomers may be feeling better about their long-term financial prospects is that they’re more likely than other generations to have a retirement plan in place. In our early April poll, more than half (54%) said they had a retirement plan prior to COVID-19, compared to 45% of Gen X and 31% of Millennials.

“Younger generations haven’t had as much time to prepare as their older counterparts, so it’s important that they understand it’s okay that they may not have as much in their retirement account just yet,” said Dylan Huang, SVP and Head of Retail Annuities, New York Life. “The lesson isn’t in how much you’ve set aside – it’s in following Boomers’ lead in being diligent about planning and deliberate about how you save, use and budget your money.”

In addition, Boomers feel confident that their plans can withstand the COVID-19 crisis. Between late March and early April, respondents’ sentiments towards how well their plans prepared them for the current situation consistently improved. In fact, 62% of Boomers felt their retirement plan either prepared them for the current environment, or was a good start in late March, and the rate increased to 68% in April. This suggests that the longer these retirees are in the COVID environment, the more they realize they can effectively navigate it.

Added Huang, “While COVID-19 was a shocking turn of events and upended everyone’s lives to some degree, our strategy has always been to help retirees design financial plans that can weather a variety of market scenarios and still ensure their goals for retirement are met. The fact that so many retirees feel their plans are on track is heartening and speaks to the value that a financial professional can bring to planning for this phase of life.”


My financial plan prepared me for the current environment

My financial plan did not prepare me for the current environment

My financial plan was a good start, but I need to adjust it for the current environment

Late March: Boomers: Age 56-74




Early April: Boomers: Age 56-74





About the Surveys

The surveys were conducted among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The surveys fielded first March 23-24, 2020, and again April 9-10, 2020, were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.


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Media contact
Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499

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