More than half of young adult investors halted saving for their retirements during the pandemic and nearly half said there is no point in saving until things return to normal, according to Fidelity Investments’ 2022 State of Retirement Planning Study.

The 55% who indicated that they put their retirement planning on hold compares with 41% who took that step among the general population, Fidelity said.

The study, which included an online survey in February of 2,622 adult financial decision makers with at least one investment account, also found that 20% of what Fidelity described as "next generation: investors who quit their jobs cashed out their 401(k)s. The study defined the "next generation" as those between the ages of 18 and 35—a group that spans portions of the millennial and Gen Z generations..

Young adults, the study said, found it empowering to walk away from their jobs. It said 51% considered quitting, are still considering quitting or already quit their jobs. Eighty percent indicated that they are more determined to focus on their passions and dreams, the study said.

Rita Assaf, vice president of retirement at Fidelity Investments, said it’s concerning that so many people who left their jobs as a result of the Great Resignation also cashed out of their 401(k)s. “Taking money out of your retirement accounts completely should be avoided unless the immediate need is critical and there are no other options, not only because of the tax implications, but also due to the impact on your retirement nest egg,” she said in a statement.

The study also found that despite global unrest in general, investors believe 2022 is the year they can move on from the pandemic and focus on the future. Sixty-five percent of respondents express that optimism, while 74% of the next generation feels the same way.

Thirty-eight percent of young investors also were more confident about their retirement prospects than before the events of the past two years regarding their retirement prospects. That compared to 17% of Gen Xers, who have the gloomiest view of their state for retirement savings, the study said. Twenty-seven precent  of Gen Xers who indicated that their retirement plans have been negatively impacted by the pandemic said they are four to five years away from getting back on track or admit they are completely off track.

While 79% Americans are confident they will be able to retire when and how they want, 25% are less sure now than they were before the events of the past two years, according to the survey.

Seventy-one percent also are concerned about the impact of inflation on retirement preparedness, and 31% said they don’t know how to make sure their retirement savings keep up.