Survey: Families can’t afford another pandemic year

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 194 views 

Americans recently surveyed by WalletHub said they cannot afford another year like 2020 as the pandemic has taken a toll on finances, health, and social wellbeing.

WalletHub reports money problems have now surpassed COVID-19 as being the top stressor in America for 30% of the population, up 15% from a year ago. Other top stressors indicated in the survey include jobs, relationships, climate change and mass shootings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is now the second biggest stressor in America, with money problems taking first place,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “The U.S. is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine and people have gotten used to social distancing measures, which explains why people are worrying a bit less about the pandemic itself. The long-lasting financial consequences caused by COVID-19 are now taking a more prominent position in people’s minds.”

She said 2020 was such a difficult year for finances as unemployment rose for many working in the service sector. Roughly 145 million Americans surveyed say they cannot afford another year like it.

“Luckily, the U.S. is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, which will help conditions in the country approach normalcy more and more over the coming months. The American Rescue Plan, which comes with $1,400 direct payments, should also help ease the burden on people’s finances this year,” Gonzales said.

WalletHub also reports 71 million Americans anticipate having trouble paying credit cards because of the pandemic. But at the same time, the pandemic has created more need for credit cards among 29 million in the survey who said they will apply for a new credit card this year.

Gonzales said opening more credit cards is one of the ways consumers have responded in the pandemic. That said, 61% of Americans also plan to save more money due to COVID-19, the survey found.

WalletHub said women are 16% more likely than men to say they have spent more money because of the pandemic. More than two-thirds of women in the survey said they spent less money on travel and at least 25% more on groceries. More than two-thirds of men in the survey said they spend less on entertainment events amid the pandemic. They survey found 110 million cancelled plans or trips because of the pandemic. As more is learned about the spread of COVID-19, 30% fewer people now believe it can be contracted from handling cash.