Here's to Retirement
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Why It's Good to Be Retired During the Pandemic

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Here's to Retirement
kali9 / E+ / Getty Images CC

Here's to Retirement

While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed life for many people, including altering daily norms and routines across America, it has also served to highlight some of the perks of being retired. As the country and the world grapple with an enormous health crisis, retirees are able to skip some of the stresses and challenges associated with the new, drastically altered, normal. From not having to worry about being laid off to more easily maintaining social-distancing precautions, here are some of the reasons why being retired amid a pandemic might be particularly beneficial.

Related: Americans' Top 10 Biggest Fears About the Coronavirus Pandemic

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You're Not Competing to Find a Job Amid Record Unemployment

One of the biggest perks of being retired now is not having to worry about being laid off from your job as the country deals with a severe economic downturn. "With millions of Americans having officially filed for unemployment, and millions more freelancers and self-employed workers not earning money … it's a bad time to be looking for work. A problem that retired people just don't have to worry about," suggests Brian Davis, a personal finance writer and co-founder at SparkRental, a site focused on using real estate investing to create passive income.

Related: 21 Things to Do to Prepare for a Layoff During the Coronavirus Crisis

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No Need to Learn Zoom or Other Remote-Work Technology

Retirees won't be forced to learn entirely new ways of working now that many companies have begun implementing remote operations. "At 65, my mother is still working, and has had to learn entirely new technologies to do her job virtually," says Davis of SparkRental. "It's been a great deal of work for her at this late stage in her career. Retirees, however, can simply shrug and say 'not my problem.'"

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Limited Exposure to Others Amid the Health Scare

As has been made abundantly clear, limiting your exposure to others can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. For those who are retired, social distancing can be far easier. "You won't be forced back to work, you can choose delivery instead of visiting shops, and you can create your own haven, escaping from the world without having to worry about trying to focus on work while worrying about the strange new situation we find ourselves in," says Andrew Roderick, CEO of Credit Repair Companies.

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Childcare and Homeschooling Are Not a Sudden Concern

Granted, many grandparents play an incredibly vital role in caring for grandchildren in our society, but in general, by the time you're retired, you're far less likely to have young children at home who are suddenly out of school amid the pandemic and thus in need of your attention while you're simultaneously trying to work from home. "Retirees are not (often) helping their little ones navigate this all," suggests Mark Wilson, a certified financial planner and president of MILE Wealth Management. "Homeschooling is difficult enough, but doing it while you're suddenly working from home makes things tougher."

Related: Where to Find Online Classes for Kids Home From School

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Fewer Repercussions from Stock Market Declines

If you've invested wisely and prepared appropriately for your retirement years, you should have shifted investments to more conservative financial vehicles upon leaving the workforce. Doing so would mean you're less impacted by market volatility amid the current global pandemic. "Retirees' investments are more conservative. They typically have less in the stock market and more in the bond markets," says Wilson of MILE Wealth Management. "The ride has been far less bumpy for someone with 40 percent in equities than for someone with 80 percent in equities.  Fortunately, my retiree clients were well-situated to protect against a big decline — not because we knew a pandemic was on the horizon, but because retiree portfolios need to be steadier."

Related: 13 Retirement Mistakes to Avoid

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Fewer Penalties for Early Withdrawals from Retirement Funds

For those who may have retired early, younger than 59½, penalties for withdrawing funds early from retirement accounts have been largely eliminated by the passage of the CARES Act, says Zachary Weiner, owner and CEO of Restaurant Accounting. "The CARES Act protects retirement investments from the 10 percent withdrawal penalty if the account holder is still younger than 59.5 years old," says Weiner. "That money can be a great help to finance the needs of people experiencing financial troubles because of the pandemic."

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Many Living Expenses Have Fallen, Which Is Helpful on a Fixed Income

With social distancing forcing many to stay home for extended periods of time, overall spending has decreased. "Before the pandemic, your estimated monthly expenses for retirement might be much higher due to all the non-essential expenses such as holiday abroad, movies, and clothing," says Gladice Gong, a personal finance blogger at Earn More Live Freely. "During the pandemic, your monthly expenses can be minimized to just the essential spending such as groceries, electricity, gas, and insurance." As an added bonus, Gong suggests, you can put some of that cash you're not spending into a high-yield savings account to earn interest income and stretch your retirement money even further.

Related: How Much Household Spending Has Dropped During the Pandemic

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Driving Costs Less

A cratering of oil prices and the global pandemic and social distancing, which caused people to stay close to home, have dramatically driven down gas prices. The average price of a gallon of gas currently hovers around $2, the lowest it has been in four years. This, too, can be a bonus for retirees, says Ethan Taub, CEO of Loanry. "Driving costs you less, because gas is cheap, so you can still visit safe places but at a cost-effective price," says Taub.

More Schedule Flexibility to Shop During Safer, Less Crowded Times
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More Schedule Flexibility to Shop During Safer, Less Crowded Times

While the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing are keeping many away from stores, it can still be anxiety inducing to go grocery shopping for those who are most vulnerable to the virus. Retirees, however, who are not on a strict schedule, can choose to shop during less-congested days and times, says Chris Michaels, a Chicago-based blogger for Frugal Reality. "According to our local grocery store, the slowest shopping days are Tuesday and Wednesday mid-morning. The weekends are still relatively busy, and Monday tends to get any remaining pent-up demand for any services that were closed over the weekend, like doctor appointments and government services," says Michaels. "Retired people have the flexibility to shop in the middle of the week when it's slower and safer to leave their house. They're not limited to weekends, lunchtime, or after work like most working people."

Related: These Grocery Stores Have Special Hours for Seniors and Other At-Risk Shoppers

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Government Stimulus Funds Are an Added Bonus

While millions lost their jobs amid the pandemic and were forced to use stimulus funds from the CARES Act to pay bills and get by, retirees are not likely to have experienced such an income change amid the crisis, and thus are free to use stimulus checks as they wish. "As a retired person, your employment wasn't impacted by the pandemic, unless you were working a part-time job," says Trish Tetrault, financial analyst for Fit Small Business. "As such, any stimulus funds you received allowed you to increase your discretionary spending."

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Telemedicine Is Flourishing, So Medical Visits Can Still Be Conducted

The variety of telemedicine options (and the popularity of this form of medical treatment) have increased dramatically in recent years. In fact, the sector is projected to increase in value to about $130.5 billion by 2025. What's more, many of these services are cheaper than a traditional office visit. For retirees, this is a boon. It's still entirely possible to receive needed medical care even amid a pandemic, says Taub of Loanry. "With telemedicine being all the rage, it might actually be more cost effective, and safer in the long term," he says.

Related: 14 Telemedicine Services for Health Care at Home During the Pandemic

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Social Security Checks Still Keep Coming

While many people are feeling the pinch amid the pandemic after being laid off or furloughed temporarily, those who are receiving Social Security amid retirement will not see that income stream impacted. In fact, those benefits may suddenly stretch even further with the cost of living decreasing amid the COVID-19 outbreak. As Forbes explained in a recent article, "the state of supply and demand is entirely out of whack. For example, with everyone working from home, we are buying a lot less gasoline."

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Medicare Still Has You Covered

When people lose their jobs, their healthcare coverage often goes with it. The newly unemployed may be able to sign up COBRA coverage through their former employer, but they'll often pay exorbitant amounts for the privilege. For retirees on Medicare, that's not the case. Medicare provides coverage for beneficiaries over 65 regardless.