The holiday season is famously difficult for any number of reasons, from the financial to the familial. It only makes sense that at a time like 2020, the last few weeks of the year would be some of its most frustrating. If you've been struggling with money in particular, this may be cold comfort, but you're far from the only one.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation released data this week showing that nearly half of Americans have had trouble paying their bills this year. This tracks with revelations in June that COVID had financially stranded about one-third of the total population.
The burden has fallen especially heavily on minority Americans. Per one writeup, "More than 70 percent of lower-income households reported financial difficulties at any point in our four waves of surveys (nearly 20 percentage points higher than the share who reported difficulties in the first wave). Similarly, 47 percent of middle-income households and 20 percent of higher-income households reported financial difficulties at some point."
Furthermore, given the dwindling government financial support for individuals (remember that $1,200 check?), more of us are relying on credit to keep ourselves afloat. The RAND analysts think we're all tightening our belts for the holidays. Right now, federal officials are hashing out another stimulus package, like the CARES Act that helped so many this past March. If you've got opinions about where that money should go, and in what amounts, there's no bad time to contact your elected representatives to let them know how you feel.