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Help clients keep good money habits post-pandemic (and address their worries)

An emerging trend from the global pandemic: Americans have become more focused on financial wellness.

Earlier this year, we conducted Principal® Retirement Security Q1 and Q2 Surveys among United States retirees, workers, and plan sponsors to gain insights and understand concerns and actions around saving for retirement.

The bottom line: Consumers are establishing better money management and savings habits. But some financial worries continue to linger.

Good habit: They’re spending less, saving more, and paying down debt.

When we asked workers if they plan to make changes to their finances after COVID-19, we heard some encouraging answers.2  
Circle graph containing 37%

of workers said they expect to spend less.

Circle graph containing 35%

said they will save more money.

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said they expect to pay down debt

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plan to look at their financial accounts more frequently.

What you can do:

  • Reinforce increasing savings and decreasing debt. If they’ve cut expenses, revisit the conversation about increasing their deferral rate and auto escalation, if it’s offered by their plan.

For plan sponsors:

Propose auto enrollment and/or auto escalation. In our survey, 87% of plan sponsors report automated features increased retirement plan participation among their employees; 80% feel automated features help employees start saving for retirement at a younger age.1 Maybe it’s time to talk about stretching the match, too?

Good habit: They have emergency savings.

Also encouraging: 56% of workers reported they have $10,000 or more in their emergency savings.1 And during Q1 2021, 49% of retirees said they have an emergency fund with 12 months of expenses saved3 compared to 44% the year before.4

What you can do:

For plan sponsors:

The importance of an emergency savings fund is part of a financial wellness program. Take advantage of our resources for financial professionals to help you talk to employers about a workplace program.  

Ongoing concern: They worry about cybersecurity.

This tops the list of lingering COVID-19 related worries for both workers and retirees, with 72% of workers and 88% of retirees expressing concern about cybersecurity.1

How you can help:

  • Talk to clients about securing their financial information. Encourage them to set up two-factor authentication on accounts, change and strengthen passwords, use a password safe or vault, and avoid public wifi to conduct financial tasks. Share 5 ways to protect your online information.

For plan sponsors:

Ongoing concern: The pandemic affected their financial decisions and retirement path.

Our survey found nearly seven out of 10 workers feel the pandemic has affected their current savings and investing decisions, with 65% reporting an impact on their path to retirement.1

Less than half of workers (47%) are confident they’ll have enough money saved to live comfortably throughout retirement. (Employers echo this; 49% said this is a top concern for their employees.)1

How you can help:

  • Encourage workers to take advantage of financial wellness programs offered by their employer; it may help improve their retirement readiness.
  • Considering the work and life changes of the last couple years, set up time with individual clients to update their financial plan or retirement income strategy to help them stay on track.

For plan sponsors:

Our survey found 51% of workers and 34% of retirees want more financial security/knowledge, and 71% of workers say they would use financial wellness resources if offered. Share the story, five ways employers can help close the confidence gap.

Learn more

Contact your local Principal® representative or your support team:

Annuities and income solutions: 866-309-1623

Retirement plans: 800-952-3343

Mutual funds: 800-222-5852

Principal® conducts periodic pulse surveys with customers, employers, financial professionals, and consultants to gain insights into timely topics.

1 Principal® Retirement Security Survey Q2 2021 (June 2021)

2 Principal® Retirement Security Survey Q4 2020 (November 2020)

3 Principal® Retirement Security Survey Q1 2021 (January 2021)

4 Principal® Retirement Security Survey Q1 2020 (January 2020)


Intended for financial professionals


This information is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering consulting, legal, accounting, investment or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate individuals including counsel, financial professional or other advisors on all matters pertaining to business, legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.



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The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.

Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co., a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, Iowa 50392.

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