In recent months, many day-to-day behaviors have shifted dramatically as the world unites in the fight against COVID-19. While health and safety is—of course—at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the pandemic has further magnified the financial hardships facing millions across the globe. In the U.S. alone, the unemployment rate continues to rise, hitting nearly 15% in April, the highest level since the Great Depression. In response, U.S. lawmakers approved the CARES Act, providing relief to the millions of Americans now struggling to make ends meet.
Stash polled its customers to better understand how consumers are coping amid the pandemic. The survey explored their changing approach to money as well as the difficult tradeoffs between financial and emotional stability.
Nearly half of Americans say their stimulus check lasted—or will last them—one week or less
- A quarter of those who received checks—or who expect to receive one—put the funds towards immediate bills and needs, like groceries or other household essentials.
- Roughly 15% of people put the stimulus money towards existing debt, such as credit card or student loan debt.
- What’s more, over 10% of eligible recipients have yet to receive their stimulus checks.
Amid COVID-19, 60% of Americans stress about finances daily
- There have been pockets of financial relief for some—for example, 30% of respondents have been able to more aggressively attack their debt.
- Conversely, paying for short-term needs has become increasingly difficult for 17% of respondents. And, 40% are still most stressed about their lack of savings.
Women are 7% more likely to cite money as major source of stress right now than men
- As women face job loss at a higher rate than men amid Coronavirus, over 60% of female respondents say money is now a major source of stress.
- Young women (18–24-years-olds) are 10% more likely to stress about saving money each month amid the pandemic.
- Men are nearly 10% more likely than women to feel hopeful about their financial future at present.
As the U.S. dabbles with reopening, over a third of Americans don’t feel ready from a mental health perspective
- Among Americans reporting higher-than-normal stress levels, over 40% expect it to take a year or longer to recover.
- From a safety perspective, over 40% report feeling very or somewhat hesitant to return to work.
- These trends are exacerbated for women, with female respondents being nearly 10% more likely to report feeling uncomfortable with the notion of returning to work, but citing the need for money to survive.
Despite the financial uncertainty that many consumers are facing, there are small, everyday steps that can help people feel more in control of their finances:
- Create a budgeting system to ease money management stress.
- Consider a no-hidden-fees bank account, like Stash, to keep more of your money rather than giving it up to unnecessary fees.
- Use credit sparingly to keep debt under control.