COVID Leaves 1 in 3 Financially Stranded

Image Credit: fizkes/iStock/GettyImages

Not since Black Monday, the 1929 stock market crash that kicked off the Great Depression, have we seen such far-reaching and fast-moving changes in the nation's financial standing. The coronavirus pandemic has sent us into our homes, forced us into new routines, and created chaos when it comes to meeting our needs. The scope of the financial upset is still changing and coming into focus, but as new research reveals, it's undeniably massive.

This week, the nonpartisan Rand Corporation released new data showing that fully one-third of Americans have lost income since COVID-19 started raging. The losses aren't evenly distributed, but they are universal; among those who make $125,000 or more, about 31 percent stated that their income had fallen this winter and spring. Overall, about 1 in 3 Americans of all incomes are having trouble paying their bills.

To make ends meet, a lot of us are relying on credit cards and other borrowing. Lower-income residents were more likely to lean on friends and family members, and nearly half are simply going without some necessities because of cost. Middle-income survey respondents were more inclined to turn to banks and creditors, including payday lenders and overdraft withdrawals.

If you can borrow money from people you're close with, be mindful about how you set up that arrangement. Watch out for debt policies that can snarl up your credit and your payment plans; credit card debt in particular carries a lot of psychic weight for Americans. Ultimately, all this is to say that if you're feeling the pinch, you're far from alone — and you haven't failed. It's rough out there for everyone right now.