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55% of Americans say the pandemic set their retirement plans back 2 or more years

MoMo Productions

More than 20% of Americans say they will need four or more years to get their retirement plans back on track following the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the U.S. economy.

That's according to a new survey from retirement-plan provider Fidelity, which explores the impact that the past year of lockdowns has had on retirement planning in the U.S. Fidelity surveyed 1,204 adult financial decision makers who have not yet retired and who have at least one investment account.

The pandemic has had wide-ranging effects, with 82% of respondents saying that it negatively impacted their retirement plans to varying degrees and one-third saying that factors like job loss and withdrawals from their retirement accounts set them back two to three years. For some, it will take even longer: 12% of respondents say it set them back more than five years.

All told, 55% of Americans said their retirement goals have been delayed by at least two years. And about 80% of respondents say the past year has made them re-evaluate their financial priorities.

But it's not all doom and gloom: 36% of Americans are more confident they will reach their retirement goals than they were before last March, and 45% are "hopeful or determined" that they will get back on track.

Fidelity also found that 33% of Americans have a financial plan for retirement, while 31% have thought about it "in great detail."

Financial stress levels have also gone down from a similar survey Fidelity conducted at the same time last year. Respondents were less concerned about their ability to pay for bills than they were before the pandemic, with 32% listing it as a worry compared to 40% previously.

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