While much of the focus during this pandemic has been on hardships that Americans have faced in the way of job loss, suspension of businesses and financial insecurity, a new study conducted by MassMutual Select indicates that nearly a quarter of Americans have become more financially well off during these times.
Specifically, the survey states that one out of five Americans – or roughly 22 percent – have saved at least $1,000 this summer, even amid these trying times. The survey polled 1,500 Americans of all different age groups.
Granted, these figures are likely bolstered by changing spending habits and government assistance, the study is welcome relief from the constant stream of bad news that we’ve endured throughout this pandemic.
In previous posts in this space, we’ve discussed the importance of savings and how it’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of all Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense if presented with such a situation. This appears to be a step in the right direction. While financial experts advise having at least three months worth of expenses stashed away in an emergency nest egg, saving anything is a great start.
The pandemic has impacted life as we know it, and as people adjust to the new normal, they’re likely not spending disposable income as often on the things that they used to. Consumers aren’t spending on things like dining out, date nights at the movies, vacations, travel and personal care like they were before. Many are also saving on gas as they’re working from home, and it’s likely that some have even removed vehicles from auto insurance policies as they’re driving much less than before.
Certainly, it’s possible that any savings was bolstered by the enhanced unemployment benefits that expired at the end of July as well. The stimulus checks that were sent out in April also likely helped with any pandemic savings goals too. While Congress is at a stalemate over an additional relief package, it remains likely that some sort of financial support is forthcoming this fall.
Regardless of how and why money was saved over the summer, it’s good news for a country of people that largely didn’t have the backup funds necessary to cover itself in an emergency. The MassMutual study backs this claim up. In fact, of the 1,500 polled in the survey, nearly half of all respondents indicated that they planned to stow away any excess cash into an emergency account. About 20 percent indicated that they planned to pay down debt, while another 20 percent stated they’ll use extra money to pay for necessities.
Saving money is important, especially now during times that are still very largely uncertain. While it may have taken a pandemic to give Americans the jolt they need to take their financial security a bit more seriously, perhaps the pandemic has been good for at least one thing — for some.