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Older consumers may be less inclined to go out and spend as the pandemic continues

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An elderly woman wearing a protective mask is seen walking on the sidewalk in Manhattan's Chinatown on March 26, 2020 in New York City.

Older Americans are also more leery of going out in the pandemic to shop at the mall, go to the gym or take a trip, according to data from research firm Morning Consult. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

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Consumer confidence was improving at the end of the summer, but now that appears to be stalling with the Conference Board’s report this week showing a slight decline in October.

That’s as COVID-19 cases surge across the country, while Congress remains deadlocked on passing another round of stimulus to help prop up households, businesses and the unemployed.

And, age matters when it comes to coping with the pandemic economy.

The research firm Morning Consult finds that baby boomers are more pessimistic about the future than millennials. Economist John Leer said, for a 55- or 60-year-old who’s out of work and looking ahead to retirement, “the time that older Americans have to make up their lost savings, their lost income, is much shorter than it is for younger adults.”

Older Americans are also more leery of going out in the pandemic to shop at the mall, go to the gym or take a trip.

Robert Frick, 63, an economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, sees the impact his generation is having.

“For myself and for my friends, we are very cautious,” Frick said. “We aren’t traveling, we’re not going to restaurants, we’re not spending. Younger people — unfortunately, they’re not in as good a financial condition — but they are traveling and spending more.”

Frick said older professional workers and retirees have done pretty well financially with the value of assets like stocks, homes and retirement accounts up in the pandemic.

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