NEW YORK — If you’ve taken a step back to review your finances during the pandemic, you’re certainly not alone. A new survey reveals 58 percent of Americans have “completely” changed how they think about money due to the COVID-19 crisis and nearly as many (56%) believe their concept of financial well-being is now different as a result of the pandemic.
The study of 2,000 Americans explored the impact that financial wellness has on their mental and physical health. In fact, 48 percent say the pandemic pushed them to increase the amount of money they believe they need in their rainy day or emergency fund.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Capital One, the survey also finds respondents added one month of emergency expenses to their savings. That increased their stash from five months pre-pandemic to six months now.
Cutting down on impulse spending
Three in 10 respondents say their top financial struggle is establishing good spending habits. So, it’s no wonder the top habit they want to change is spending on items they don’t really need (44%). Impulse spending is another habit two in five respondents are trying to shake and 41 percent added they made impulse purchases during the pandemic they regret.
Twenty-nine percent of these respondents blame pandemic-related stress for their impulse buys – which cost an average of $162 per purchase. While men were less likely to make impulse purchases than women, their purchases are generally more expensive. In fact, more than one in four men (27%) spend over $250 on an impulse buy.
“After living through the last year and a half, one of the most important things we’ve learned is that there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to well-being,” says Lia Dean, President, Retail Bank & Premium Card Products, Capital One, in a statement. “People have always been stressed about money, perhaps never more so than right now.”
Sharing the feeling of financial responsibility
Nearly three in 10 (29%) respondents believe their credit score is the strongest indicator of their financial well-being, with the ability to pursue their financial goals without concern (19%) following that. One in five respondents add they used the pandemic to start a new savings goal as they strive toward a healthier financial future.
As they look ahead over the next year, some of Americans’ top goals include starting an emergency fund (39%), paying off their credit card (34%), and starting to save for retirement (24%). With all of these financial firsts and new goals in mind, 33 percent are confident they could actually become a “finfluencer” to advise their family and friends on financial decision-making.