Nearly half of Americans who took a loan or withdrawal as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic took more than needed, according to new Voya survey

Monday, April 26, 2021

While many say borrowing from their accounts put them behind in saving for retirement, 68% are in a better place financially because they took a loan or withdrawal

Findings show opportunities for employers to help employees get back on track and identify ways to build emergency savings

WINDSOR, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today new findings from a consumer survey revealing that nearly half (47%) of individuals who took a loan or withdrawal from their retirement plan, a traditional lender or investments due to COVID-19, agree or strongly agree they withdrew more than they needed. Still, a significant amount (68%) of individuals agree or strongly agree they are now in a better place financially because they took a loan or withdrawal.

As the COVID-19 pandemic led to lost wages, a rise in health care needs and other unplanned expenses, many individuals experienced financial uncertainty like never before. This is why the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included provisions that enabled those struggling with economic hardship from the coronavirus pandemic to take early withdrawals (“coronavirus-related distributions”) or loans from qualified retirement accounts.

“When financial hardship hits, we understand that individuals need to take action to support themselves and their families,” said Charlie Nelson, vice chairman and chief growth officer, Voya Financial. “It is also telling that nearly half of individuals say they took more than they needed. With greater understanding as to how individuals accessed their workplace retirement plans and other long-term savings to meet their needs, we believe there is an opportunity to leverage this new research and look at ways we can help individuals become better prepared for financial emergencies.”

Despite the majority of respondents agreeing they are in a better place financially as a result of taking a loan or hardship withdrawal, Voya’s survey also uncovered concern about the impact that borrowing from their retirement savings will have on their long-term financial wellness. Specifically, a majority (65%) agreed that borrowing from their accounts has put them behind in saving for retirement. What’s more, over half (59%) of individuals wish they had consulted a financial professional before taking a loan or withdrawal.

“This past year has especially highlighted that individuals are in need of a first line of defense when experiencing a financial shock and, as a result, many may have had no choice but to turn to their hard-earned savings. It’s also important for individuals to know that if they did have to do so, they can get back on track — and as employers we can help,” said Heather Lavallee, CEO of Wealth Solutions, Voya Financial. “We are working with many of our clients to help them understand ways that they can play a role in helping their employees rebuild their retirement savings and become better prepared for potential future short-term financial needs. This includes solutions and options for helping employees build their emergency savings both inside and outside of a retirement plan. And with many now possibly deciding how best to utilize a stimulus payment and or a tax refund, now is an opportune time to help individuals address their short- and long-term savings needs.”

According to Voya, many individuals have already taken actions to get back on track financially. The results of the survey also revealed that nearly four in 10 (38%) of Americans are reducing overall expenses, and over one quarter (29%) are re-evaluating their monthly budget.

As an industry leader focused on the delivery of health, wealth and investment solutions to and through the workplace, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its mission to make a secure financial future possible for all Americans — one person, one family, one institution at a time.

All data outlined in this release are based on the results of a Voya Financial survey conducted through Ipsos on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the U.S. (featuring 154 who took a loan or withdrawal from retirement). Research was conducted March 12-15, 2021.

About Voya Financial®

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), provides health, wealth and investment solutions that enable its approximately 14.8 million individual, workplace and institutional clients to achieve their financial wellness goals with confidence. With a vision to be America’s Retirement Company®, Voya’s products, solutions and digital capabilities help create a better financial future for all. Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $7.6 billion in revenue in 2020 and $700 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Dec. 31, 2020. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has earned recognition as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; as the No. 1-ranked financial services firm among Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for three consecutive years; as a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index; and as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multispecialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

Ipsos is a separate entity and not a corporate affiliate of Voya Financial®.


Laura Maulucci
Voya Financial
Office: (860) 580-1278
Cell: (508) 353-6913

Source: Voya Financial, Inc.