The COVID-19 pandemic brought much of daily life to a halt over the last five months, but Americans will still be casting their ballots come November. With Congress stalled on a second stimulus package and roughly 30M Americans currently unemployed, Stash set out to understand how Americans are feeling now, compared to when the current administration came into office in January 2017 and how the fallout from COVID-19 has shifted their perspectives on various economic issues and policies. 

Key Findings: 

For roughly 60% of Americans, their personal financial situation is the same or worse than when the Trump administration took office in January 2017.

  • While the trend holds up across generations, women have been disproportionately negatively impacted. 30% of women, and nearly 40% of Black women specifically, report a worsened financial situation 
  • Black respondents across genders are 15% more likely than white respondents to report a worse personal financial situation (35% vs. 20%) 

Lack of wage growth is the main contributor to a deteriorating financial situation, followed by housing costs. 

  • 43% of those who report a worsening financial situation cite COVID-19 as the main reason—from lack of wage growth to rising healthcare costs 

Only 30% of Americans feel more hopeful about their financial opportunities now than in January 2017.

  • Boomers are 10% more likely to feel hopeful about their financial opportunities than their Gen Z counterparts
  • Both women and Black respondents are 10% more likely to report feeling more fearful than men and white respondents, respectively
  • Specifically, Americans’ number-one fear is around their ability to become debt-free (45%); this is followed by fear about their ability to build up a retirement fund (22%), and fear around the ability to own a home (15%) 

Overall, Americans are 4% more likely to support student loan forgiveness now, compared to before COVID-19, and are 5% more likely to support expanded or universal child care.

  • Those earning less than $35K are now nearly 20% more likely to support student loan forgiveness than those earning more than $100K 
  • Overall, those who received unemployment benefits during COVID-19 are now 6% more likely to support student loan forgiveness, and 4% more likely to support expanded or universal child care 

As parts of everyday life resume for some Americans, financial stress remains on many people’s minds. However, there are small steps that can help people feel more confident about their finances—from creating a simple budgeting system to ease money management stress, to using credit sparingly to keep debt under control. 

For more information—like how to file for unemployment or what the current grace period means for student loans—visit Stash Learn’s COVID-19 Resource Center

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Stash using SurveyMonkey technology in August 2020. The survey was completed by 1,719 people. Of the 1,719 individuals: 56.54% (972) identified themselves as males, 41.94% (721) identified themselves as females, 0.29% (5) identified themselves as nonconfirming/non-binary, and 1.22% (21) did not disclose. 217 (12.62%) identified individuals identified as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin, 1,036 (60.27%) identified as White, 386 (22.45%) identified as Black or African American, 74 (4.30%) identified as Asian, 42 (2.44%) identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, 11 (.64%) identified as Middle Eastern or Northern African, 22 (1.28%) identified as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 451 (4.59%) identified as as Other.This material has been distributed for informational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, or tax advice. Bank Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC.

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