In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining momentum in many countries and the status quo was replaced with stay-at-home mandates, we conducted online interviews with 3,479 retirement savers across five countries, chosen to represent a range of different retirement systems: Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey for this year’s Global Retirement Reality Report (GR3), led in conjunction with international market research firm YouGov, was intended to capture saver sentiment in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
Similar to other studies that have published this year, we found that the current climate amplifies the extremes, increasing vulnerability for some while maintaining optimism for others. Divides along gender and generational lines suggest that people are getting squeezed from all angles. With a global population in the grips of these vises — exacerbated stress, increased societal and gender polarity and delayed personal milestones — how do we achieve retirement happiness in 2020?
This survey is the first of two installments, intended to monitor sentiment during the coronavirus crisis and provoke conversation around redefining retirement happiness.
Key Sample Characteristics
To qualify for the survey, respondents had to have access to a workplace-sponsored defined contribution (DC) retirement savings plan (or equivalent based on the market) and be working at least part-time. Meeting these criteria suggests a more financially secure survey population — particularly in the US, where nearly 40% of working Americans didn’t have access to a DC plan pre-pandemici and, as of June 2020 data, unemployment was still a historically high 13.3%,ii — and potentially inflates confidence quotients.