Freedom Financial Survey Finds COVID-19, Economy Batter Americans’ Financial, Mental Health

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Everyday Americans struggle with expenses and debt, with no end in sight.

Freedom Financial Network provides innovative solutions, including debt relief and personal loans, that empower people to live healthier financial lives.

Freedom Financial Network

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that the COVID-19 pandemic has moderately or highly impacted their current financial situation, and almost half have sought, or considered seeking, help for symptoms associated with anxiety or depression.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, so does its impact on Americans’ health: physical, financial, emotional and mental.

A new survey from Freedom Financial Network (FFN) finds that 73% of Americans say that the COVID-19 pandemic has moderately or highly impacted their current financial situation. Forty percent of respondents say they feel poor or very poor about their current financial security.

In addition, nearly half (48%) say they feel current economic conditions in the U.S. are poor or very poor, with women reporting this far more frequently than men (65% versus 31%).

The toll of the pandemic and associated economic situation is extending to American’s thoughts and feelings on healthcare as well. Even though millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their health coverage, 73% of men and 51% of women still believe that their healthcare should be tied to their employment.

Emotional, mental impacts
The ongoing pandemic is hitting American’s emotional and mental health as well as its physical health and finances.

  • 46% of American adults say that the COVID-19 pandemic and economic situation have made them seek, or consider seeking, help for symptoms associated with anxiety or depression.
  • 46% say the pandemic and economic situation have caused them to feel overwhelmed about their financial situation.
  • 35% say the pandemic and economic situation have put a significant strain on their personal relationships.
  • 48% of women say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, versus 34% of men.

Signs of optimism among younger generations
Some Americans do indicate positive feelings about the current economy, despite reporting they have experienced moderate or high levels of impact to their personal finances. Younger generations more often indicate higher levels of optimism when it comes to their feelings about the economy than do Baby Boomers.

  • Gen Zers (51%), Millennials (50%) and Gen Xers (59%) report they feel good or very good about the current economic conditions in the country. Yet, these individuals feel COVID-19 has had a high impact on their current financial situation (32% of GenZers, 33% of Millennials and 35% of GenZers).
  • On the other hand, 61% of Baby Boomers say they feel poor or very poor about economic conditions. However, only 17% of this group says that COVID-19 has had a high impact on their current financial situation; 45% say it has had low or no impact.

Rising expenses, sinking income
Americans have accumulated debt, are spending more on some expenses, and are seeing incomes shrink, all as they deal with relatively small amounts of savings.

  • 32% report total credit card debt of more than $10,000.
  • 52% say they currently have less than $1,000 in their savings and checking accounts.
  • 44% are spending, or expect to spend, more on groceries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 34% are, or anticipate, spending more on utilities due to the pandemic.
  • 65% are spending, or expect to spend, the same or more on retail expenses this year.

Almost a third (32%) of people say they have experienced a reduction in pay/work hours, or have taken a lower-paying job, because of changes caused by the pandemic. Almost a quarter (23%) have lost jobs or experienced layoffs/furloughs. And, of those reporting a reduction in pay or work hours, 27% say their income has been reduced by 50% or more.

Impact of stimulus and other relief measures
The relief measures people are using have helped to some degree, but the survey suggests they still face challenges.

Thirty-one percent say they are currently using their pandemic relief check from the government. Of those who reported that they are currently making use of at least one COVID-19 pandemic relief measure:

  • 52% report they will need the relief measures for three or more months.
  • 72% say they still feel like they are far behind on their debt-payoff goals even after taking into account the federal stimulus package program measures they are using.
  • 92% say they want to keep cash on hand due to uncertainty of the current environment.
  • 71% say they could not make their loan payments.
  • 24% say that once their deferral period is over, they will not be able to make their loan payments on time.

What’s to come
With the pandemic not expected to be brought under control until mid-2021, the FFN survey asked Americans how their behaviors will change in the coming months.

  • 46% said they will focus more on saving money for emergencies
  • 44% said they will look for additional sources of income.
  • 43% said they will spend less money on holiday gifts this year.
  • 40% said they will hold off on major vacations. Almost 6 in 10 adults (59%) say they are spending, or expect to spend, less – or nothing at all – on vacations this year due to the pandemic.

“The fact that almost three-quarters of American adults say that the COVID-19 pandemic has moderately or highly impacted their current financial situation is telling,” says Michael Micheletti, director of corporate communications for FFN. “Even with widespread reductions in consumer spending and federal financial interventions, the accumulation of consumer debt over the past five years – combined with the lack of significant savings – will directly impact how everyday Americans weather personal and national economic changes as the pandemic drags on.”

Commissioned by Freedom Financial Network, the online survey of 2,007 adults in the United States was conducted by Atomik Research Oct. 23-28. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 2%, with a confidence interval of 95%.

A downloadable copy of the survey’s complete results, with breakouts by generation/age group, is available.

Freedom Financial Network (http://www.freedomfinancialnetwork.com)
Freedom Financial Network provides innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, Freedom Debt Relief offers a custom program to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. FreedomPlus tailors personal loans to each borrower with a level of customer service unmatched in the industry. Bills.com offers a resource site with simple tips, advice and tools to help consumers make smart financial decisions.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, the company also operates offices in Tempe, Arizona, and employs more than 2,200. The company is a member of the Fintech Racial Equality Coalition, a consortium of 32 major fintech companies committed to taking actionable steps toward improving access to financial services, jobs and career advancement for consumers of all color, and particularly the Black community.

Contact: Michael Micheletti, mmicheletti@freedomfinancialnetwork.com, 415-359-6985

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