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Pandemic to pretirement: The new retirement demands of small business employees

This report reveals how the pandemic has changed small business employees' retirement plans, aspirations, timelines, and the transition leading up to it.

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Retirement plans have changed for small business employees

From September to October 2022, Human Interest surveyed 2,002 U.S. adults (including employees from 1,378 small businesses and 279 big businesses). We wanted to understand shifts in retirement planning since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Our report found that small business employees, in comparison to big business employees, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and its aftermath in nearly all areas of retirement planning.

80% of small business employees said the pandemic has made them delay retirement.

We found that small business employees had a somewhat or very difficult pandemic experience. Roughly 33% of respondents said the pandemic affected everything about their retirement decisions.


of all respondents define retirement as a reduction in working full-time instead of a complete stop.


of small business employees report talking to their partners at least once a month about retirement savings.


of small business employees said the pandemic has changed how they save for emergencies.

96% of small business employees are reducing expenses to save for retirement.

As inflation continues to rise, the financial pressure facing small business employees is affecting how they manage everyday expenses.

A retirement plan can help you save for the future

“As our research suggests, small business employees have had to endure many challenges following the onset of the pandemic,” said Kristina Wallender, Human Interest’s Chief Experience Officer. “Participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan is one of the most effective ways to save for the future.”


Unless otherwise indicated, data is from Human Interest. This national, online survey of 2,002 US adults, including 1,378 employees of small businesses (<500 employees) and 279 of big businesses (500+ employees), was commissioned by Human Interest and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s (MRS) code of conduct. Data was collected between September 26-October 4, 2022. All participants are paid an amount depending on the length and complexity of the survey. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR and AAPOR.

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