More members of Gen Z than older generations said their finances are in better shape now than before the pandemic. 

The economic downturn brought on by COVID-19 wasn’t as devastating to Americans’ finances as experts initially predicted.

A survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults by Debt.com and Florida Atlantic University found most are in the same financial situation or better than before the pandemic.

When asked, “Is your financial situation better or worse than in March of 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a national emergency?” Over a third (35 percent) said it’s “about the same,” 23 percent said “somewhat better” and 16 percent said “much better.” When combined, the results for “somewhat better” and “much better,” mean just under 4 in 10 Americans feel they’re in a better financial situation today.

More Gen Z respondents than any other generation reported their finances are “much better” today. Here’s how that compared to older generations.

Finances are “much better” today than before COVID-19 was declared a national emergency:

  • Ages 18-24: 36 percent
  • Ages 25-39: 18 percent
  • Ages 40-54: 10 percent
  • Ages 55-74: 14 percent
  • Ages 75 and older: 4 percent

“It’s not as bad as it could have been,” says Debt.com president Don Silvestri. “We don’t yet know how much was government stimulus or Americans cutting back their expenses out of fear of what could happen next. More research needs to be done. For now, we’ve learned this: Americans have lost none of the resiliency that made this country great.”

For more information, read the full Americans’ Views on Their Personal Finances Before and After COVID-19 Report and infographic.

When combined, nearly 4 in 10 said their finances are better than before the pandemic

 

 

More younger respondents reported they are in a “much better” financial situation now

 

 

Regardless of age, the majority of respondents have money set aside for an emergency

 

 

When combined, 30 percent of survey respondents reported they have more than $10,000 set aside for emergencies

 

 

The oldest and youngest respondents said they needed funds from their emergency accounts to get through the peak of the pandemic

 

 

Is your financial situation today better or worse than in March of 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a national emergency? Percentage of respondents
Much better 15.7%
Somewhat better 23.0%
About the same 34.6%
Somewhat worse 14.8%
Much worse 11.9%
Is your financial situation today better or worse than in March of 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a national emergency? By Generation Much better Somewhat better About the same Somewhat worse Much worse
Ages 18-24 35.8% 20.0% 34.2% 4.2% 5.8%
Ages 25-39 17.6% 31.6% 24.6% 19.5% 6.6%
Ages 40-54 9.5% 28.0% 40.3% 12.8% 9.5%
Ages 55-74 14.2% 18.3% 40.0% 18.3% 9.2%
Ages 75+ 4.4% 2.2% 34.4% 7.8% 51.1%
Total 15.7% 22.9% 34.8% 14.7% 11.9%
Is your financial situation today better or worse than in March of 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a national emergency? By Region Much better Somewhat better About the same Somewhat worse Much worse
Northeast 16.0% 28.2% 42.0% 5.9% 8.0%
Midwest 16.2% 20.8% 38.1% 15.7% 9.1%
South 11.7% 22.0% 37.2% 15.5% 13.6%
West 22.6% 22.6% 19.8% 20.3% 14.7%
Total 15.7% 23.0% 34.6% 14.8% 11.9%
Do you have an emergency savings account? By Generation Yes No
Ages 18-24 70.8% 29.2%
Ages 25-39 77.9% 22.1%
Ages 40-54 72.4% 27.6%
Ages 55-74 73.9% 26.1%
Ages 75+ 65.6% 34.4%
Total 73.5% 26.5%
Do you have an emergency savings account? By Region Yes No
Northeast 73.9% 26.1%
Midwest 79.3% 20.7%
South 70.9% 29.1%
West 73.3% 26.7%
Total 73.6% 26.4%
How much have you saved in your emergency savings account? Percentage of respondents
$0 22.3%
$0 to $500 12.3%
$501 to $2,500 15.2%
$2,501 to $10,000 20.6%
$10,001 to $30,000 15.8%
More than $30,000 13.8%
How much have you saved in your emergency savings account? By Generation $0 $0 to $500 $501 to $2,500 $2,501 to $10,000 $10,001 to $30,000 More than $30,000
Ages 18-24 34.7% 19.0% 14.9% 17.4% 9.9% 4.1%
Ages 25-39 17.5% 9.9% 19.0% 27.4% 14.2% 12.0%
Ages 40-54 19.8% 12.8% 18.1% 27.2% 8.6% 13.6%
Ages 55-74 21.8% 10.2% 10.9% 14.6% 19.7% 22.8%
Ages 75+ 30.0% 15.6% 10.0% 6.7% 35.6% 2.2%
Total 22.4% 12.2% 15.2% 20.6% 15.9% 13.7%
How much have you saved in your emergency savings account? By Region $0 $0 to $500 $501 to $2,500 $2,501 to $10,000 $10,001 to $30,000 More than $30,000
Northeast 24.1% 11.8% 19.8% 24.6% 9.6% 10.2%
Midwest 20.2% 8.6% 14.6% 23.7% 17.7% 15.2%
South 21.7% 16.0% 11.9% 16.0% 17.2% 17.2%
West 23.9% 8.7% 18.3% 23.4% 16.5% 9.2%
Total 22.3% 12.2% 15.3% 20.6% 15.8% 13.8%
Did the COVID-19 pandemic cause you to withdraw money from your emergency savings account than you otherwise would have? By Generation Yes No
Ages 18-24 71.7% 28.3%
Ages 25-39 50.9% 49.1%
Ages 40-54 44.9% 55.1%
Ages 55-74 29.2% 70.8%
Ages 75+ 60.7% 39.3%
Total 46.5% 53.5%
Did the COVID-19 pandemic cause you to withdraw money from your emergency savings account than you otherwise would have? By Region Yes No
Northeast 54.3% 45.7%
Midwest 34.8% 65.2%
South 47.0% 53.0%
West 49.3% 50.7%
Total 46.5% 53.5%
Which is higher: The amount of credit card debt you have or the money in your emergency savings account? Percentage of respondents
Credit card debt 35.5%
The money in my emergency savings fund 47.5%
No credit card debt and no savings 11.1%
Don’t know 5.9%
Which is higher: The amount of credit card debt you have or the money in your emergency savings account? By Generation Credit card debt The money in my emergency savings fund No credit card debt and no savings Don’t know
Ages 18-24 56.2% 26.4% 14.0% 3.3%
Ages 25-39 36.6% 52.4% 7.7% 3.3%
Ages 40-54 42.6% 49.6% 2.5% 5.4%
Ages 55-74 24.4% 59.0% 10.5% 6.1%
Ages 75+ 22.2% 17.8% 41.1% 18.9%
Total 35.6% 47.5% 11.0% 6.0%
Which is higher: The amount of credit card debt you have or the money in your emergency savings account? By Region Credit card debt The money in my emergency savings fund No credit card debt and no savings Don’t know
Northeast 47.3% 41.0% 10.6% 1.1%
Midwest 23.9% 65.5% 6.6% 4.1%
South 35.4% 46.7% 9.8% 8.1%
West 35.9% 38.7% 18.0% 7.4%
Total 35.5% 47.5% 11.1% 5.9%

Methodology: Data was collected Oct. 1-20, 2021, from 1,022 Americans over the age of 18, using a mixed mode sample of online, cell phone and telephone participants. All respondents interviewed in this study were part of either a fully representative sample using mixed mode random stratified probabilistic sampling and a non-probability panel sample. The credibility interval for the sample is +/- 3.065% in 19 of 20 cases.