Financial fears skyrocket among young adults amid pandemic
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting so many aspects of life, it may not be surprising that more than half of Americans (57%) have felt at least some stress on their financial situation since early 2020 Almost 90% of those with financial worries experienced in the midst of the pandemic say it has affected their daily lives.
That’s according to a new AICPA survey, which shows the financial stress stemming from the pandemic has left many Americans frustrated, sad and sleepless at times over the past year. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the AICPA, interviewed 2,040 American adults online in January 2021.
“With the unemployment rate peaking at an all time high, no one could really feel secure – financially or otherwise – during these first few months when things were going so fast,” said Michael Landsberg, CPA / PFS, member of The AICPA National CPA Commission on Financial Literacy.
With Americans fearful of losing their jobs, let alone the safety of their families, financial worry is sure to increase for many people, he said.
Some groups experienced financial worries at higher rates than others, according to the survey. For example, tenants felt more stress than landlords. Almost three-quarters of renters (72%) said they experienced at least some stress about their financial situation, compared to just over half of owners (52%).
Younger and middle-aged Americans were also more worried about money during the pandemic. In the past year, 75% of 18 to 34 year olds and 71% of 35 to 44 year olds reported feeling at least some financial anxiety, compared with 65% of 45 to 54 year olds, 46% of 55 to 64 year olds and 27 % of over 65s.
“Young adults have experienced, to some extent, some of the most shocking financial disasters in recent memory,” Landsberg said. “The great financial crisis of 2007-2008 and then the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 left a very lasting impression on those who had just entered the workforce or who were financially savvy enough to realize what was happening there. ‘time.”
Since many young people work in the hotel and restaurant industries, they have also been disproportionately affected by unemployment, Landsberg said.
According to survey data, 91% of Americans aged 18 to 34 who reported experiencing financial anxiety during the pandemic said it had a negative impact on their mental well-being, and 59% said the impact was moderate to major.
As we emerge from the pandemic, Americans should learn the lessons of the past, Landsberg said.
“Take this experience as a learning opportunity to avoid being surprised again,” he said. “Strengthen your finances, create an emergency fund and put in place a contingency plan if a shock of this magnitude occurs to the financial system.”
In many cases, working with a financial professional can also help Americans allay their concerns, he said.
“It doesn’t matter whether you have $ 1,000 or $ 1 million, because we are all human beings in fits of uncertainty and anxiety,” Landsberg said. “Whether you have a financial advisor on call or need to contact a credit counselor, there is a plethora of resources to help you overcome anxiety.”
– Megan Hart is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Courtney Vien, a JofA editor-in-chief at [email protected].