The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the whole world. While the brunt of the pandemic seems that it may now be behind us, there are many people who are living a very different lifestyle because of it. Many of these people are elderly who were driven to retire, some even retiring years before they had planned to. Federal research has found that three million or more people retired early during the pandemic. This is the equivalent of more than half of the gap found in the labor force. There were many reasons for this mass retirement.
Some, especially those with compromised immune systems, feared getting sick and what that could do to them in the long term. Others realized they wanted to spend more time with their families. For many who were able to keep their jobs through the pandemic, it just became too much as everything continued to spiral out of control and many of their co-workers were being laid off adding even more to their workload. In addition to the ever-growing work load, many who were approaching their retirement, were holding jobs that required more face-to-face time than others. These jobs were not able to go virtual and were giving these older people higher chances of exposure to the virus. All of these reasons contribute to older members of society removing themselves from the workforce permanently.
For some, the pandemic was not all bad. Some were able to benefit from the rapidly increasing price of homes and the red hot housing market. For example, large houses sold for cash offers higher than the asking price, allowing individuals to make a nice profit and downsize. Some opted to live in apartments. Others decided to invest in camping trailers, RVs (otherwise known as mobile homes), etc. In certain areas, it has been found that sales of these types of recreational vehicles were up (30 %) or higher.
“RV shipments show no sign of slowing down,” said CEO and RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby. “RV manufacturers and suppliers are producing a record number of units to meet the continued demand for consumers looking to make RVing a part of their active outdoor lifestyle.”
In addition, the RV Industry Association states that shipments of RVs were up more than 40% in January 2021. Close to 46,000 units to were delivered to dealerships. Businesses selling these trailers and RVs typically have inventory that will last them a few months. Now they find themselves selling out in a couple weeks.
Many new owners of RVs have found that they enjoy the freedom of not being tied to one place. They have also found themselves seeing things that they otherwise would not have. In addition to being able to see their family while on their travels, they find that other “RVers” that they meet at campgrounds are friendly and ready to chat about their collective adventures. Others have found themselves saving money with the minimalistic life they can have with an RV, even if it’s just on their travels. For example, they find themselves eating out less.
While the COVID-19 pandemic made life a lot harder for many people, there are those who benefitted. The industry selling camping trailers, RVs, and other recreational vehicles received a massive boost that has shown no signs of stopping. Some older members of society were able to downsize and start to travel in a way that keeps them feeling safe by minimizing or eliminating their time interacting with others on planes and buses. Not only this, they have found another activity that increases their quality of life.
Emmalee Rice, freelance writer.
Baily, M. N., Harris, B. H., & Doshi, S. (2022, March 9). Covid-19 and retirement: Impact and policy responses. Brookings. Retrieved June 23, 2022, from https://www.brookings.edu/research/covid-19-and-retirement-impact-and-policy-responses/
Horovitz, B. (2020, July 30). Camper sales soar amid the pandemic. AARP. Retrieved June 1, 2022, from https://www.aarp.org/auto/trends-lifestyle/info-2020/camper-trailers.html
Kassraie, A. (2020, January 24). The Pros and cons of owning an RV or Motor Home. AARP. Retrieved June 23, 2022, from https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2020/purchasing-rv-motorhome.html
Niedt, B. (2021, April 1). 10 reasons to retire in an RV. Kiplinger. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.kiplinger.com/retirement/602354/10-reasons-to-retire-in-an-rv
Pazzanese, C. (2021, November 24). Harvard economist sheds light on ‘great resignation’. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/10/harvard-economist-sheds-light-on-great resignation/
Public Broadcasting Service. (2022, February 23). Why millions of older Americans are retiring early in the wake of the pandemic. PBS. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/why-millions-of-older-americans-are-retiring-early in-the-wake-of-the-pandemic#transcript
Tanzi, A., & Sasso, M. (2021, October 22). Covid Early Retirees Top 3 Million in U.S., Fed Research Shows. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-22/covid-early-retirees-top-3- million-in-u-s-fed-research-show