SoFi Survey: Health and Financial Concerns During the Outbreak
We all know that COVID-19 has changed our collective financial lives. But to what end? And how drastic (and permanent) are the changes that we find ourselves making?
We wanted to know, so we asked more than 1,000 consumers from ages 18 through 74 through SurveyMonkey® to share their insights about market volatility, long-term decisions, and how dealing with the coronavirus has changed their financial philosophy.
In our first look at the results, we revealed that for 65% of those surveyed, the actual COVID-19 outbreak was the top cause of stress. In fact, the next two reasons—the stock market and job security—didn’t even come close, at 14% and 12%, respectively.
When it comes to the day-to-day impact of social distancing, a closed economy, and fears of spreading the virus, 37% of respondents said they were most worried about making their usual monthly payments. Job security was second, followed by worries about investment portfolios.
Here, in Part 2 of our study results, we’ll dig deeper into how Americans are feeling about topics like personal finances, dealing with fallout from reduced (or eliminated) work hours and canceling summer vacations.
Personal Finances are in Flux
It’s clear that COVID-19 has forced many Americans to think about their current financial situation, and how they can make changes to help them get through the down times.
68% of those surveyed said they had made changes in how they handled their personal finances in the past month, an increase from our previous survey results of 51%.
Paychecks Have Gotten Smaller
As businesses have changed their structures or completely shut down in the name of social distancing, 40% of respondents shared that they have experienced a salary decrease.
Perhaps as a result of this, our survey also found that 71% of respondents said they were interested in picking up a second, home-based side gig.
Some of the most popular possibilities included virtual assistants (42%), reselling clothing or other belongings (40%), blogging or podcasting (29%), or tutoring (27%).
Summer Celebrations are on Hiatus
For many Americans, COVID-19 is turning the summer of beach bums into the summer of beach bummers. With major tourist attractions like Disney World and many beaches still closed to the public, it stands to reason that planned summer fun is being put on the back burner.
Family vacations top the “postponed” list at 49%, followed by family celebrations at 43%, birthday parties at 38%, and weddings and related activities at 17%.
Mental Health Matters, Too
As much as physical health is a concern, mental health was on the minds of our respondents, too, with 44% admitting to having mental health/emotional stress related to COVID-19, and 30% experiencing money-related stress.
The biggest source of their stress, at 68%, was not knowing when life will go back to “normal.” A lack of human interaction was cited by 54% of respondents, and 49% admitted stress about not being able to go outside for long periods of time.
What do they miss specifically? 75% of respondents said they miss seeing their family and friends because of social distancing. 61% said they miss dining out, but only 29% said they missed their former work routine.
Spending Is Down, Savings Remain
Our survey found that when it comes to spending in the COVID-19 climate, 54% of respondents said they have not increased their spending.
However, as stimulus checks start to roll in, Americans are using that money for a variety of reasons. For our survey, 43% said they have used their stimulus check to cover basic living expenses, including food and medication.
24% said they were using the money to pay down debt, and 39% said they were putting at least some of the money into an emergency fund or savings account.
In fact, 70% of respondents said they have an emergency fund or savings account, and 35% of them said they were somewhat confident that the amount they had stashed away could carry them through the entire period of uncertainty.
30% said they were very confident about their savings lasting through this tough time, and 14% said they were not confident at all.
The New Normal Will Look, Well, New
A number of states are starting to reopen, but that doesn’t mean the average American will flock back to business as usual.
When we asked respondents to envision their post-COVID futures, 55% said they anticipate eating out less. 45% said they are likely to travel less, and 40% said they aren’t likely to spend as much on experiences.
As we begin to discover what our lives and careers will look like after restrictions have been eased, it’s important to be making smart decisions when it comes to our finances.
SoFi offers complimentary financial planning, to assist with everything from creating your emergency fund to investing based on your own risk tolerance. Our team of skilled planners are prepared for any financial questions you may have during this unprecedented time.
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.