The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Faculty Retirement Patterns — Highlights From the 2020 Higher Education Financial Wellness Survey

Editor’s note: Be sure to join Paul Yakoboski, senior economist at TIAA Institute, and Melissa Fuesting, survey researcher at CUPA-HR, on Wednesday, May 26 at 2:00 p.m. (ET) for the webinar, Faculty Retirement Patterns and COVID-19: Impacts, Challenges and Opportunities.” In addition to their findings on changes to the expected retirement age for faculty, Paul and Melissa will discuss evidence-based suggestions to promote faculty retirement, such as phased retirement programs.

Even before the pandemic, faculty retirement patterns have been top of mind for colleges and universities for planning for the future. According to the 2020 Higher Education Wellness Survey conducted by TIAA Institute and CUPA-HR, the economic consequences of COVID-19 have altered the expected retirement age for more than one-third of full-time faculty age 50 or older.

Although this trend can be concerning for institutions, encouraging faculty to use phased retirement programs can help ease the transition, as can encouraging them to seek financial advice on planning and saving for retirement from a professional advisor.

Key findings:

  • According to the survey, the age at which faculty expect to retire has changed for over one-third of full-time faculty age 50 or older since the onset of COVID-19. Twenty-five percent now expect to retire at an older age, while 11 percent expect to retire at a younger age. An increase in expected retirement age is most common among faculty in their 50s, as well as female faculty.
  • Almost one-third of full-time senior faculty report that they very likely would use a phased retirement program if offered by their institution when they decide to retire. An additional 37 percent are somewhat likely to do so.
  • While 69 percent of full-time senior faculty report that they have done a careful evaluation of their financial situation and when they can afford to retire, only 34 percent have received financial advice on planning and saving for retirement from a professional advisor or advisory service since the onset of COVID-19.

Read the full report for more insights and be sure to attend the conference session reviewing the report findings at CUPA-HR’s Virtual Spring Conference.

 

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