The recent stimulus plan enacted by Congress to help Americans impacted by the coronavirus may be providing a sense of relief to families facing a financial burden during these times. A recent survey revealed that U.S. adults are somewhat less concerned about their ability to make payments following the passage of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package.
Currently, personal health and the health of loved ones are much bigger concerns for most Americans than their financial circumstances. However, there is still some concern about paying everyday bills, especially amongst Gen Xers (age 40 to 55) and millennials (age 24 to 39). Baby boomers (those aged 56 to 74) have expressed the most concern about the value of their investments. Read below for more detailed survey information regarding the financial and emotional concerns facing Americans during this time.
Paying everyday bills
Current level: 5.16/10 (Before the crisis: 5.14)
Average concern about paying everyday bills has almost declined to pre-pandemic levels compared to where it was two weeks prior. Now that a stimulus deal has been reached, anxiety centered on bill payments has dipped among all generations. However, Generation X was the only group of Americans whose concern to pay bills increased significantly since the outbreak began. For those in lower income brackets that had been concerned about their ability to pay bills before the pandemic, those concerns actually lessened after the passage of the stimulus bill since they will now be receiving extra money to help pay those bills.
The value of investments
Current level: 5.97/10 (Before the crisis: 4.84)
The average level of concern about the value of investments like CDs, stock and retirement accounts has increased from before the start of the outbreak. Baby boomers have the highest concern about the value of their investments since they are the ones either close to retirement or already in retirement and relying on their investments to live. About 1 in 5 (20 percent) of the highest earners are also extremely concerned about what their investments are worth. The positive is that few investors with stock-related holdings have made adjustments in response to their fears. In order to avoid hurting your long-term goal to attain wealth, please make sure you check with your financial advisor before making any changes to your portfolio.
Job and income stability
Current level: 5.88/10 (Before the crisis: 5.35)
Concerns about job and income stability have increased slightly since before the outbreak started. Prior to the pandemic, the least-educated adults were most likely to express being extremely concerned about their job and income situation. However, now a higher amount of post-graduates (mainly millennials and Gen Xers) feel extremely concerned about their job security and income stability compared to the least-educated survey respondents. Members of Generation Z, who were actually most worried about their income and job situation before the coronavirus spread, are now among the least likely to express extreme concern.
Current level: 6.51/10 (Before the crisis: 5.93)
For obvious reasons, Americans’ personal health has become a greater concern since the coronavirus outbreak. However, there are fewer worried about their well-being now that the huge government stimulus package has been approved. Overall, concerns about personal well-being are consistently a bit higher for women than men.
The health of loved ones
Current level: 7.59/10 (Before the crisis: 6.61)
Across the board, concerns about the health of loved ones trumps concerns about personal health and finances. There seems to be a higher concern for loved ones’ health among minorities, though that gap has narrowed some. In addition, concern for the health of loved ones is slightly greater for low income families.
Control what you can about your finances
During the current crisis, those with major concerns about health and finance may feel as though little is in their control. But there are still plenty of ways to be proactive about managing money. Try to start by setting a budget and tracking how much money is coming in and what’s going out. This is especially important if your financial situation has recently changed to some extent. You should be looking for ways to increase your emergency fund, trim expenses and pay off some debt if you are able to. Since most of us aren’t spending money on movies, events and dining out, it might be a good idea to put some of that “discretionary spending” into savings instead.
It is also extremely important to protect yourself against other potential issues. Make sure you are properly insured (life, health and disability) and comparison shop if you’re spending more than you can afford on premiums. And if you haven’t added beneficiaries to your accounts, now is a good time to consider doing so. You should also make sure your will and other estate documents have been updated should the need arise.
At any point, if you are looking for guidance or advice on how to better your financial situation, please contact us. We are here to help and we are all in this together!