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Half say the payment is very important to their near-term financial situation
News Release, Bankrate.com
NEW YORK – April 8, 2020 – Nearly one-third (31%) of U.S. adults who anticipate receiving a stimulus check as part of the CARES Act believe that the money would not be enough to sustain their financial well-being for one month, according to a new Bankrate.com report. This group includes 8% who don’t think it would allow them to sustain their financial well-being at all.
Additionally, half of those who believe they will be receiving stimulus money say it is very important to their near-term financial situation.
Of those that anticipate receiving a stimulus payment, just under one-third (32%) think the monetary influx would help sustain their financial well-being from one month to less than three months. 11% think it would maintain them from three months to less than five months, and another 11% believe it would help preserve their financial well-being for at least five months. Another 14% are unsure of how long they will be able to sustain their financial security.
Four in 10 households earning $80,000 or more per year who expect stimulus money don’t think the amount would sustain them for one month, including 13% who don’t believe it would help at all. Meanwhile, 27% of those who make less than that are concerned with the money lasting one month (6% don’t think it would help at all).
Overall, 80% of those who anticipate receiving a payment say it would be either very important (50%) or somewhat important (30%) to their near-term financial situation. Just 12% say it is not very important and 5% say it is not important at all.
Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of the lowest income households (under $30,000/year) say the payment is very important to their near-term financial situation, compared to 36% of the highest income households ($80,000/year and up). Ten percent of the highest income households say the payment is not at all important, while just 4% of the lowest income households say the same.
Additionally, more than half (55% each) of millennials (ages 24-39) and Gen Xers (ages 40-55) say receiving a check would be very important to their near-term financial situation, compared to 43% of baby boomers (ages 56-74).
“Even before the pandemic forced the economy to a standstill, just 41% of Americans were able to pay for an unplanned expense of $1,000 from savings. This payment will not be a financial panacea, but it is sorely needed by millions of households,” said Bankrate.com chief financial analyst, Greg McBride, CFA.
Half of those who anticipate receiving a stimulus check think they would use the payment to help pay monthly bills such as rent/mortgage or utilities. Other common plans include paying for day-
to-day essentials like food, medicine or supplies (41%), adding the money to savings (30%), and using it to help pay down debt (25%). Less common plans include putting it toward discretionary/non-essential spending, such as booking a vacation, buying concert or sports tickets for later this year (8%), investing it (7%), or something else (7%). Six percent don’t know how they would use it.
“For those already suffering from income disruptions, the payment will be needed for day-to-day essentials and monthly obligations,” added McBride. “Otherwise, padding the emergency savings is a much-needed step for many households.”
Bankrate.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 1,465 adults, including 994 who anticipate receiving a stimulus check as part of the CARES Act. Fieldwork was undertaken on March 30-31, 2020. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.