The next stimulus package, expected to be introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) next week can’t come soon enough for a number of Americans who are moving closer to raiding their qualified retirement savings to make up for income lost during the pandemic.

That’s according to a new study from the Secure Retirement Institute; (SRI) which finds American workers who lost their jobs or suffered a loss in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic were at least twice as likely to take money from their qualified retirement savings accounts as those who haven’t been impacted.

Almost 49% of the 1,400 non-retired households with qualified retirement savings surveyed by SRI reported experiencing a reduction in income, either because of a job loss, a decrease in hours and/or a pay cut. These households are most likely to access their retirement plans, SRI reports.

To offset the loss in income, the greatest number of Americans said they would make CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) withdrawals from IRAs, followed by those who reported they would make CARES withdrawals from a defined contribution plan, a hardship withdrawal or take out a plan loan, SRI found.

The CARES Act waived the 10% early withdrawal penalty and 20% withholding for coronavirus related distributions of up to $100,000 across all qualified retirement plans and IRAs.

Only households with 12 months or more in emergency savings said they’d opt for a plan loan (5%) over a plan withdrawal (3%).

Not surprisingly, the greatest determinant in whether or not workers access their qualified retirement savings accounts was how many months of emergency savings they had set aside, SRI found.

More than a quarter of U.S. workers (26%) say they only have emergency savings to cover less than one month’s expenses and nearly half (48%) report having only enough emergency savings to cover three months’ expenses or less.

“Emergency savings represents the first line of defense for households experiencing a financial shock, such as major unexpected expenses or the loss of a job,” SRI Research Director Matthew Drinkwater, Ph.D. said in a new blog.

“In theory, these savings will be tapped before touching any long-term savings, including funds in retirement savings accounts. The lack of emergency funds and the staggering job loss that occurred over the past few months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will have long-term ramifications on retirement security for many Americans.”

First « 1 2 » Next