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December 8, 2020

US: one in four have less than $500 in savings, Discover survey

By Mohamed Dabo

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of nearly every American, and a new survey from Discover Personal Loans sheds light on how the pandemic is affecting consumers’ financial situations.

Fifty-four percent of consumers who reported having anxiety when it comes to their financial situation say the pandemic is the cause of at least half of their stress.

However, Americans were not letting their concerns keep them from taking action to better their financial futures, with 60% of respondents saying they are actively working to improve their financial situation.

The pandemic has affected all of us in countless ways”

The survey from Discover Personal Loans polled 1,500 consumers and was fielded between July 1 and July 8, 2020.

“The pandemic has affected all of us in countless ways,” said Matt Lattman, vice president of personal loans at Discover. “Within the uncertainty, many have paid down debt and found ways to shore up savings – possibly as a result of budgeting or help from a stimulus check. Consumers should continue these positive steps to better their financial situation and prepare for the future to be ready for the unexpected.”

Seventy-seven percent of Americans reported feeling prepared to handle next month’s bills, and 59% said they feel financially well enough to handle short term unemployment.

Sources of anxiety amid the pandemic

However, a quarter of Americans still report having less than $500 in their savings and more than half say they do not feel prepared if they were to lose their job or handle an unexpected expense of $5,000 (54% and 52% respectively).

Among those who reported financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half are most worried about its impact on their ability to afford everyday expenses.

The impact of a volatile stock market on their retirement plan and a lack of emergency savings are also key concerns.

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