According to the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®), more than four in five Americans say the pandemic continues to cause them financial stress.
It's been nearly 8 months since the COVID-19 outbreak first turned our lives upside down. In that amount of time, we've experienced stock market swings, record unemployment, and little (to no) relief for the day to day financial challenges that many individuals face.
"When eight in 10 Americans say they are feeling financial stress, it becomes nearly impossible to find a family member, friend or neighbor that is not sorely affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic,” says Billy Hensley, Ph.D., president and CEO of NEFE. “Even in the best of circumstances, few home budgets can withstand significant financial strain that goes on this long.”
As Hensley suggests, these levels of stress are not unique to low income Americans. More than 63% of those with household income over $100,000 per year report that they are at least “somewhat concerned” about their personal finance situation right now.
The study went on to dive into specific financial stresses that Americans are facing. Among those are:
- Not having enough money saved (e.g., emergency savings, retirement, college savings)
- Ability to pay bills
- Financial market volatility
- Putting off major financial decisions (buying / selling a home, making a major financial purchase, starting a family)
What does the future hold? No one knows, but the outlook is not sunny, according to survey respondents. Nearly two in five (39 percent) report they will feel “very/somewhat worried” about their financial situation 12 months from now. Without trustworthy financial guidance to support them through these tough times, it may be hard to fully recover.
Thankfully, American employers are stepping in to help fight the national epidemic of financial stress. According to World at Work, 50% of employers planned to expand their financial wellbeing offerings in 2020. For those with existing benefits, 59% of human resources teams planned to increase time spent supporting these benefits.
As we look ahead to the new year, our team at LearnLux is helping top employers continue to put these plans into action. Record numbers of workplaces across a wide range of industries and geographies are making financial wellbeing a corporate priority. We hope that together, we can promote actionable strategies around taming stress and creating a better financial future for all.
About the NEFE Survey
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education between September 14-16, 2020, among 2,049 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.