May 26, 2020
How Covid-19 has Increased Stress About Money
A new survey shows people are anxious about returning to work, but hope is on the horizon
As the U.S. begins the long process of reopening following the economic shutdown caused by Covid-19, Americans are expressing feelings of anxiety and stress about their finances and work. And early indications suggest the financial impact of the pandemic will be long and far-reaching.
In fact, 60% of consumers in Stash’s latest survey* about financial stress said that money currently causes people to worry multiple times a day, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying a lack of savings is the leading cause of anxiety in their financial lives.
As the coronavirus pandemic has led to a global recession, with record unemployment in the U.S., the survey suggests that more might need to be done to help consumers’ financial and mental health.
Layoffs and temporary financial relief of checks
In fact, half of those who received a federal stimulus check of $1,200 said it was gone in just a few days.
A quarter of respondents said they put their stimulus money toward immediate needs such as groceries and bills, while 16 percent said they used it for existing debt. About 35 percent said they spent all of their stimulus money in just a few days. A minority—15 percent—said they put the money toward savings or in an investment account.
Additionally, more than a third of those surveyed said they had either lost their jobs or had their hours reduced as a result of Covid-19, and 50 percent of those who have attempted to file for unemployment benefit said they have had difficulty obtaining benefits, while 45 percent did not know that additional benefits are potentially available to them.
Even for essential workers, who have continued working throughout the crisis, nearly two thirds say it could take a year or more for their financial situations to stabilize, compared to 56 percent of non-essential workers. (Essential workers are those whose jobs are considered vital to the day-to-day functioning of the economy, such as doctors, nurses, grocery workers, and transportation employees.)
More anxiety for women
Across the board, however, survey respondents reported high levels of anxiety regarding work and money—especially women, 36 percent of whom reported losing a job or reduced hours. Nearly two thirds of women said money has been a source of stress since Covid-19, compared to 55 percent of men. (In contrast, one third of men said they are ready mentally to return to work, compared to less than a quarter of women; and 45% of men say they feel hopeful about their financial futures, compared to 37% of women.)
An equal percentage of men and women-about 18 percent–said lack of money in their bank accounts was the biggest source of concern, followed by credit card debt, and housing costs.
Glimmers of hope
It’s not all bad news, however. More than one third of those surveyed said their jobs had not been affected by the pandemic, and about 18 percent of respondents said they had shifted exclusively to remote work. Additionally, more than 35 percent said they were saving more as a result of Covid-19, while nearly 30 percent said they have taken aggressive steps to pay down their debts, including student loans and credit cards.
Check out Stash’s resource center for managing your money during Covid-19.
*Stash interviewed 4,811 customers via SurveyMonkey in mid-May, 2020.