As a whole, job loss rate increased from 16% to 18%, but respondents indicate less worry overall about ability to pay bills. The bills are still there – but the good news is the recently passed economic stimulus package may be at least temporarily reducing anxiety. Forty-three percent of people now say they plan to use these expected stimulus checks to make upcoming payments. This was the first week this option was available in our survey, and it immediately became the most popular choice. This extra money will provide some temporary relief, but it may not be a long-term solution given the average budget shortfall is $1060.
The stimulus package may make people less likely to rely on friends and family for financial support (17%) and may have clarified payment options: those who do not know how they plan to pay bills dropped from 22% to 15%. Since these checks are still weeks away from being deposited into accounts, many are still planning on tapping into personal savings to make up for reduced wages (37%).
It appears the economic stimulus has bought us all some time, even if only a matter of days. People now state it will take nearly 6 weeks before they run out of funds to pay bills, up from 5.4 weeks. However, with social distancing guidelines extended nationwide for another month, this timeline may be discomfortingly close for many Americans who are clamoring to get back to work.
The economy will eventually rebound, though maybe not as quickly as we’d like. In the meantime, we need to try to keep each other’s sprits high. Continue supporting businesses that have treated us well and bring value to our communities. Settle not into a “new normal,” but into our current reality, and take care of your physical and emotional needs. In times like these, you can feel more in control if you take proactive action around your finances. We strongly suggest you contact your lenders to ask about and enroll in their forbearance plans, if they’re offered, so you can manage your credit health. For additional education and guidance about how to minimize the potential negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your credit, visit our COVID-19 website.