As COVID-19 Cases Continue to Increase, Top Financial Concern Among Americans is the Cost of Healthcare
More than Half of Americans (54%) are Stressed, with Younger Americans Reporting Highest Levels of Anxiety
A new survey released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) in collaboration with research-led consulting firm Heart + Mind Strategies LLC found that more than half of Americans (54%) are experiencing high or very high levels of stress.
The survey of 1,000 Americans, age 18+ in early November 2020, found that the top financial concern is the cost of healthcare (41%). Other top financial concerns include unemployment or reduced income (32%), protecting assets (31%) and managing debt (30%).
“The uncertainty and volatility of this past year have strained Americans physically, mentally, emotionally and financially,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country and the recent surge in cases, it is understandable that Americans are most concerned with the cost of their healthcare.”
Additionally, Americans are more concerned about their personal economic situations than before. In early March 2020, 25% of respondents said their personal economic situations were worse than four years ago. While in November 2020, 34% of respondents said their personal economic situations were worse than four years ago; a percentage increase of 9 percentage points.
The Divide Between Older and Younger Generations
There are distinct differences between generations when it comes to stress levels and top financial concerns.
Younger respondents tend to experience higher levels of stress, with Gen Z (60%) and Millennials (64%) reporting high or very high levels of stress. Their older counterparts are also stressed but tend to be less stressed than their younger counterparts, with 46% of Baby Boomers and 28% of the Silent generation reporting high levels of worry.
Older respondents indicated they are more concerned about the cost of their healthcare, with 46% of Baby Boomers and 50% of the Silent generation responding that it is a top financial concern. This is likely due to that group of individuals being especially vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic combined with their heavy reliance on Medicare. Millennials are most concerned about unemployment or reduced income (40%) whereas the Silent generation is most concerned about protecting assets (59%).
Americans Would Benefit from the Guidance of a Financial Planner
Despite high levels of stress and several competing concerns, three in four Americans surveyed (73%) do not work with a financial planner. Those most likely to work with a financial planner include those with an income of $100K or more (43%) or $200K or more (54%) and individuals with a bachelor’s degree (38%) or college graduate/post graduate degree (40%). Additionally, those who are married are more likely to work with a financial planner than those who are divorced (32% vs. 17%).
Respondents who work with a financial professional experience similar levels of day-to-day stress, with 53% reporting high levels of anxiety. However, those who work with a financial planner are less concerned about the cost of healthcare than those who do not (36% vs. 43%) and much less concerned about unemployment or reduced income (22% vs. 36%). Additionally, those working with a financial planner are less concerned about managing debt (18% vs. 35%) and making rent or mortgage payments (13% vs. 32%) than those who do not have a financial planner.
“A financial planner can help lessen Americans’ financial concerns by addressing important topics such as reduced income, managing debt, or paying bills within the context of their financial plans. Working with a CFP® professional, who is obligated to the CFP Board to serving their client’s best interests, can help navigate today’s challenges and also plan for a more secure tomorrow,” added Keller.
Learn more about financial planning, CFP® certification and where to find a CFP® professional at www.LetsMakeaPlan.org.
Note on Methodology and Survey Report
The online survey was conducted November 3, 2020 among a total national sample of 2,005 adult respondents 18 years of age and older, including a nationally representative subsample of n=1,000 adult respondents 18 years of age and older who were asked a set of questions on financial topics. The generations are defined as born between the following years: Silent Generation 1921-1945, Baby Boomers 1946-1964, Gen X 1965-1980, Millennials 1981-1994, and Gen Z 1995-2002.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 88,000 people in the United States.
Director, External Communications