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Life Span: When a Relatively Short-Term Event Affects our Long-Term Outlook

The pandemic has our otherwise optimistic tribe concerned about their financial future. Can we add some certainty with planning?

In 2020, AGEIST collaborated with Jackson on an investor survey to discover how the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected the outlook those aged 50 to 70 had on their future. We discovered that while a few areas in our study remained surprisingly unaffected by this global health event, one area in particular was filling minds with worry in a way that was previously not: their financial futures.

What Remains the Same

If you are between the age of 50 and 60 and in reasonably good health, there is a very good probability that you will live several more decades. The awareness of this probability leads many to look at the future in a different way than previous generations. We are and have been curious, confident, and open to new ways of living. Our feelings of optimism and excitement around the future have not really changed. We are indeed a highly resilient group.

We assumed that a life-altering health event would shake this confidence around longevity, but surprisingly this was not the case. Most people in the AGEIST community still believe we are going to be around for a long time to come. This means the range of possibilities for the next few decades is a wide one: everything from early retirement, starting new businesses, thriving in the career you love, or starting a new life 2.0. We, as a group, are just as open and optimistic as we have ever been.

What Has Changed

We found a significant increase in anxiety about financial futures. This was unexpected. Due to COVID-19, we theorized that since age placed us in a higher risk category there would be a negative impact on confidence in our life span. But this was not at all the case. The change is actually around finances — there is now an increased anxiety around financial futures.

Perhaps the pandemic placed our minds on fast-forward, forced us to focus on future concerns and to determine what areas are somewhat inside of our control. If we do indeed live longer, will we have enough income to support our life span? Will we be active and healthy enough to enjoy our longer life?

Key Findings

We discovered that many of you view health and wellness as a direct result of your own actions, yet you do not feel the same about your finances. Your financial future feels directly connected to the stock markets, economic policy, and employment. In our study, very few were overly concerned with getting sick, as they could take precautions to avoid that. There was a growing worry around where the uncertainty did lie — in their financial futures.

“COVID has changed everything. I definitely look more to the importance of a fixed income versus the overall size of my portfolio.”

While this is a direct statement from a 51-year-old in our study, the sentiment was a common thread. Participants were looking for areas of certainty in life and an income for the future is coming into focus.

Those with financial plans still want to grow their assets, but they are now also looking at options to bring a bit of predictability to their financial futures.

“Everything is vulnerable. I feel like millions of others, that we are in uncharted territory,” (from a 58-year-old investor in our study)

A Possible Path Forward

Our study revealed that many are unfamiliar with financial planning products that can offer a steady income in retirement — and one way to add predictability to your financial future is with an annuity. Are you planning for longevity and an active lifestyle? Would a steady income add a bit of certainty to your financial future?

An annuity may be a useful tool to help reduce anxiety around your financial future. For additional information on annuities, you should speak to your financial professional.

David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

2 COMMENTS

  1. As someone past 60 and concerned during the pandemic of the deep drop in the stock market – and my financial wellness, I leaned into uncertainty. As we age, too many of us confuse security with certainty. Decades of living have show. Is that there is little certainty. We get a new boss who has different goals and expectations, we fall in and out of love, we lose a parent or a sibling at an early age, and on and on. If our lives have been uncertain for over 50 years, why do we expect certainty in our last chapter? The biggest financial lessons are simple: start saving early or try to catch up later; not spending is saving; invest for long term results (5-10 years). Accept that our financial wellness is a bit of a roller coaster. Enjoy the ride safely and with the security that you can adjust your living conditions, you are open to a smaller home, or relocating to a state with lower taxes. You must enjoy your life: family, good books, audio stories, walking in nature, daily hugs, and the passionate belief in having more fun, joy, and laughter amidst the many changes occurring.

  2. I just had a show on Hey, Boomer about this with Dr. Sara Zeff Geber. We talked about planning for our future as a Solo Ager but many of the topics discussed apply to all of us, whether we have adult children or a spouse or partner. Preparing for our financial future also involves considering where we will live and possibly moving out of a beloved home. Much to consider. It was a good show. You can find it on my website at https://heyboomer.biz

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