Money Analysed

Overcoming Financial Obstacles for Achieving Early Retirement

The COVID-19 pandemic has truly tested Americans’ retirement savings plans across the board. The global health crisis has swept in and has forced businesses to shut down, jobs to be cut, and incomes to be significantly diminished.

With all these factors in play, it’s no wonder that retirement savings has decreased. COVID-19 is just one roadblock, but Americans face various challenges that make it hard for them to save effectively for their retirement.


Retirement Savings during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed retirement savings for many Americans, both old and young alike. Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that 21% of workers have had to make changes to their retirement plans as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The same study shows that almost a third of Americans are less confident in their ability to have a safe retirement savings account. The pandemic has disrupted employment opportunities, and many Americans have had to juggle income loss and expenses to make ends meet.

With a lack of job security, many are hesitant to invest more significant amounts into their retirement plans. This hesitation has led to widespread decreased retirement savings among Americans as they try to manage their day-to-day expenses and debt while keeping their heads above water.

Late and Unclear Retirement Goals

Research shows that, in preparation for retirement, 52% of boomer workers have created a retirement plan by seeking the advice of a financial advisor, whereas only 39% of millennials and Gen X of workers have done the same. The lack of clarity in planning for retirement could indicate that younger generations are not focused on saving enough for their retirement, or that they don’t know how much they will require to sustain themselves after retirement.

Late Start on

Retirement Savings

Older generations have had more time to start their retirement savings and to let the power of compound interest help grow their retirement accounts steadily. Starting early means that money has more time to grow, which is a significant advantage in retirement savings.

But younger generations have yet to take advantage of this same benefit of compound interest, oftentimes starting later in saving for their retirement. Thirty-three percent of millennials who do contribute to a retirement account have only saved between $5001 and $10,000, a very small amount for one’s long-term plans.

For example, a 25-year-old saving $250 monthly until they are 65, would end up saving ~$350,000 (assuming a return rate of 5%).

Insufficient Contributions to

Retirement Savings

Even when younger generations do start saving for retirement, they may not be saving enough. The average savings rate for Americans is around 7%, which, for many, isn’t enough to pave the way to a comfortable retirement.

Retirement planners suggest aiming for a savings rate of between 10% and 15%, but many Americans aren’t currently able to achieve this.

Financial Roadblocks to

Retirement Savings

In addition to insufficient savings rates and late retirement planning, many Americans are also struggling with debt. More than 70% of Americans carry debt, including credit card debt and loans, which makes it challenging to contribute to savings accounts and retirement plans.

Additionally, student loans are a massive burden for many, forcing many young Americans to delay their retirement planning so that they can pay down their loans first.

Sacrifices for Early Retirement

If young Americans want to have a chance at early retirement, sacrifices will likely need to be made. For instance, a survey of millennials conducted by Ally Bank indicated that roughly 76% of respondents were willing to put a halt on eating out to save more for their retirement.

Other sacrifices may include reducing vacations, owning a smaller house or apartment, or downsizing a car. Fortunately, with a bit of foresight and creativity, these income reduction tactics do not have to last forever.

In fact, it’s very likely that these sacrifices will pay off in the long run and result in a much more comfortable retirement.


Although retirement planning may seem like an abstract notion, it’s critical to ensure that Americans adequately prepare for upcoming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more uncertainty and challenges, but with proper planning, it’s still possible to build substantial retirement savings.

With realistic retirement targets, early savings, consistent contributions, and a willingness to make sacrifices for early retirement, anyone can overcome the financial roadblocks and achieve their long-term goals. The American retirement system was established as a safety net for citizens to ensure that they could live comfortably in their old age.

Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t taking advantage of the system due to numerous obstacles they’re facing. From a lack of clarity in retirement goals to financial roadblocks, achieving retirement savings is becoming increasingly difficult.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only piled on the pressure, and the resulting unemployment rates, business shutdowns, and financial crises have decreased retirement savings even more.

Unclear Retirement Goals and Savings Needs

Many Americans, particularly Gen X and millennials, lack clarity in their retirement goals and savings needs. This lack of clarity makes it challenging to save enough for retirement.

Without a clear idea of what retirement looks like to them, many Americans don’t know how much money they need to save. Without any savings targets, younger generations are often avoiding much-needed financial advice and not taking advantage of what’s offered to them, such as employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Financial Roadblocks to

Retirement Savings

Another challenge faced by Americans in retirement savings is debt. From credit card debt to student loans, many individuals are tackling enormous financial burdens that make saving for retirement difficult.

While there is certainly a need for healthy credit scores and access to higher education, the cost of gaining those opportunities can weigh an individual down for years. Furthermore, the need to manage day-to-day expenses can leave very little room for saving for long-term financial stability.

Sacrifices for Early Retirement

Despite these obstacles, there are still ways to achieve retirement goals. One is making sacrifices for early retirement.

These could include refraining from indulging in daily gourmet coffee purchases or expensive vacations, reducing the size of homes and cars, and becoming budget-conscious while shopping. Another sacrifice is investing more in your retirement accounts and contributing as often as possible, even if it means trimming other expenses.

Regardless of the specific sacrifices, the benefits are immense, as they lead to a comfortable retirement and peace of mind later in life.

Strategies for Achieving

Retirement Savings Goals

Several strategies can help individuals achieve their retirement savings goals. These include budgeting, creating a financial roadmap, finding ways to reduce debt, and investing.

It’s important to create a budget to account for every expense and income, and to plan for the long-term savings goals. When it comes to investing, it’s important to stay abreast of market trends, fluctuations, and risks.

COVID-19’s Impact on

Retirement Savings

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on retirement savings in America. Many workers have lost their jobs and are no longer contributing to their retirement plans.

Others have had to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts to make ends meet. Almost a third of Americans who withdrew funds prematurely, pin the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason.

The CARES Act, which went through in March 2020, allowed retirement account holders to pull up to $100,000 without a 10% penalty, but withdrawals are still taxed at the account holder’s current income tax rate.

Unemployment and

Retirement Savings

Unemployment and retirement savings are inevitably intertwined. When unemployment rates rise, as they have in recent years, those job losses result in reduced retirement account contributions.

A lot of individuals rely on their employee-sponsored plans, but without work, the money coming in stops. Unemployment makes it very difficult for individuals to save money, resulting in decreased retirement savings.

CARES Act and Withdrawals From

Retirement Savings

Although the CARES Act provided an opportunity for people to withdraw retirement savings without penalty, that doesn’t mean the decision should be taken lightly. If it can be avoided, it’s not advisable to withdraw retirement savings because it can seriously impact future retirement plans.

If necessary, withdrawals should be the last resort, and only if there is no other way to pay necessary expenses.

Financial Roadblocks to

Retirement Savings

Just as it was before, financial roadblocks to retirement savings remain an issue during the pandemic. Large amounts of debt, along with unemployment, make it more challenging to save or even contribute to a retirement plan.

With an increasing number of people living paycheck to paycheck, it’s becoming difficult for them to save for retirement. The best way to overcome these obstacles is to make a monthly budget that will account for necessary financial responsibilities, reduce unnecessary expenses, and focus on saving as early and as often as possible.


Retirement savings is necessary for all Americans, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more challenging to achieve. However, if one is willing to make sacrifices, stay focused on their goals, and utilize the tools available to them, it is still possible to reach their retirement savings objectives.

It’s important to have clear retirement goals, reduce debt as much as possible, and avoid forgetting to adjust one’s savings strategy as circumstances change. And with the right kind of assistance, investing, working towards financial stability, and retirement freedom can be more easily attained.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty and stress for millions worldwide. This outbreak has hit every aspect of our lives, including our finances.

With so many people losing jobs or facing reduced income, the ability to save money has become even more difficult. However, even in the midst of such a crisis, planning ahead for early retirement remains an important issue.

Dedicating oneself to save early and often is the key to achieving the goal of retiring earlier in life.

Impact of COVID-19 on

Retirement Savings

The effects of COVID-19 on retirement savings have been significant and are continuing to be felt. Many workers have had their hours cut, been furloughed, or laid off, and are no longer able to contribute to their employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Additionally, the stock market has been volatile, causing many retirement account values to decrease significantly. As a result, those looking to retire early may find themselves looking at a far less comfortable financial future than they expected.

Financial Roadblocks to

Retirement Savings

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans faced financial roadblocks to achieving retirement savings. These obstacles include high levels of debt, including credit card debt and student loans, and living paycheck to paycheck.

High expenses and a lack of disposable income ultimately lead to difficulty budgeting and saving for retirement. But as much as these roadblocks pose a challenge, making small sacrifices today can have a significant impact on one’s financial future.

Sacrifices for Early Retirement

Sacrifices are often necessary to achieve early retirement. Those looking to retire early may have to forego luxury items, such as expensive food and drink, brand new cars, or luxurious vacations.

They may have to prioritize saving over their current lifestyle more than they expected. Additionally, cutting spending can affect their social life, but learning to say no to certain expenses can be instrumental in retiring early.

Strategies for Achieving

Retirement Savings Goals

The best way to achieve any savings goal, including early retirement, is to create a clear plan and focus on achievable objectives. The first step is to determine how much money is required to sustain one’s desired lifestyle and that includes healthcare and other conditions.

Then, it’s best to create a budget that will take into account necessary financial responsibilities, including debt reduction, future savings, and impulse control. It is also crucial to explore various investment strategies, to make the most out of financial opportunities.

Retirement Savings

To achieve one’s retirement savings goals, it’s crucial to create a savings plan for retirement and stick to it. Investing in employer-sponsored plans, such as 401(k)s, remains an effective way to save for retirement, but there are many other finance strategies available.

Reducing expenses early and consistently investing in Roth IRAs (individual retirement accounts) or investing in assets that take the form of real estate can secure funds for future retirement. Investing in the stock market may be a safe investment option.

However, it’s crucial to have a diversified portfolio and to seek professional advice. Individuals looking to retire early should also be flexible and willing to adjust their plan as they gain a better understanding of their situation.

There is always a possibility of change, so being open to these situations can have a significant impact on one’s future retirement plan.


Early retirement planning can be challenging, but it is possible if one is willing to make some sacrifices, take financial risks, and remain disciplined. Focusing on one’s values, keeping track of expenses, and sticking to a budget will lead to efficient saving practices for a better financial tomorrow.

It’s essential to have a realistic outlook and to take advantage of financial opportunities that will secure one’s retirement savings. By sticking to a plan, reviewing one’s budget, and taking advantage of available resources, it is possible to achieve the goal of early retirement.

Achieving early retirement in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and financial challenges requires discipline, financial savvy, and taking advantage of the tools available. Sacrifices must be made, and it all starts with setting clear retirement goals, creating a budget, reducing debt, and investing wisely.

Investing in retirement accounts such as 401(k)s or Roth IRAs holds significant potential value. By staying focused on goals, remaining flexible, and making strategic financial decisions, early retirement is attainable.

The importance of starting early, having clear goals, and keeping track of one’s expenses cannot be overstated, enabling a comfortable and financially secure retirement.

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