HerMoney and Debt.com Survey: Pandemic Might Have “Silver Lining”
COVID-19 has changed how we think about our healthcare and our social lives. Will it change how we think about our finances?
By Joe Pye for Debt.com
January 12, 2021
Long after the vaccines are injected and the pandemic has passed, COVID-19’s aftermath might linger for years. Perhaps none will be more profound than how Americans think about their money.
A new poll from HerMoney.com and Debt.com asked more than 1,000 working Americans about their financial habits as the pandemic dragged into (and now past) December. More than two-thirds of respondents say they’re spending much less than during normal times — which includes those who haven’t suffered any income loss.
While that’s not really a surprise, this was: HerMoney and Debt.com asked, “Has the pandemic changed how you think about money?” For those who lost money in 2020 — from a quarter of their income to all of it — over 70 percent said the pandemic had changed their thinking in “profound ways.” But here’s the kicker: Among those who lost no income, those whose thinking changed in profound ways was still 50 percent.
Why would the pandemic change so many minds even among those who have lost nothing, compared to those who have lost something or even everything? That doesn’t seem to make sense, but financial expert Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney.com and best-selling author, thinks she knows why.
“Sometimes the fear of losing something is more overwhelming than the actual loss when it happens,” Chatzky says. “So those who are worried they might be next are the ones who are preparing now for the worst.”
Debt.com chairman and CPA Howard Dvorkin agrees. In his three decades as a financial counselor, and in the course of writing two personal finance books, he’s seen the desire for change arise most often from fear.
“During trying times, most of us promise ourselves, ‘I’m gonna change if I can just get through this.’ Sadly, we don’t feel that urgency to improve when times are good,” Dvorkin says. “This pandemic has been awful, and I don’t want to sound cavalier by saying it has a…