Generational Differences and Similarities in Financial Wellness
There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted every part of life. From where we work and learn, to how we shop and socialize, the new normal will likely be around for a while.
And, unfortunately, COVID-19 has also had an impact on many people’s finances. Whether you’ve lost a job, had your hours cut, or lost money in the stock market, everyone’s financial future is a bit uncertain these days.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Prudential, FlexJobs surveyed members to get a better idea of how the pandemic has impacted their finances. Looking at the data across age groups, some key findings have emerged.
Who Was More (and Less) Financially Secure?
Before the pandemic hit, roughly 22% of millennials and Gen Xers felt they were financially secure (millennials slightly edged out Gen X), as did 18% of older workers (baby boomers and the silent generation collectively). Currently, only 12% of millennials, 10% of Generation X, and 9% of older workers feel financially secure.
However, many people seemed to be struggling financially before the pandemic. Our survey found that 27% of millennials, 22% of Generation X, and 28% of older generations felt they were struggling financially pre-pandemic. But, as the pandemic continues slowing the economy, 41% of millennials, 43% of Gen X, and 47% of older workers say they are struggling financially now.
Financial Status of Age Groups During the Pandemic
The current unemployment rate is staggering, no matter how you look at it. In May 2020, the unemployment rate by age group was:
- 13.1% for 25-34 year olds, compared to 4% in February 2020 and 10.9% at the peak of the Great Recession
- 9.8% for 35-44 year olds, compared to 3.0% and 9.5%
- 10.4 % for 45-54 year olds, versus 2.8% and 8.5%
- 11.5% for those aged 55 and over, compared to 2.8% and 7.5%, respectively
Our survey found that while one-third of respondents across all generations are earning the same salary now as before the pandemic, nearly as many or more (31% to 35%) of workers across all generations are earning no income.
So, how are the different generations dealing with this financial upheaval?
Overall, 45.6% of workers are looking for side work to either supplement or replace their income. Of those, 17% of millennials and Gen Xers are looking for part-time jobs and gig work, and a whopping 32% of older workers are doing the same.
Nearly 15% of everyone across every age category also report freelancing to earn money. And, 25% of millennials are using remote work to supplement their income, while 23% of Gen X and 20% of older generations are doing so.
Though older workers may be closer to retirement, that doesn’t mean they want to retire yet. However, 12% of them may dip into their retirement savings to help make ends meet. At the same time, 14% of millennials and Gen X will either reduce or stop contributing to their retirement accounts.
When we asked people what prevented them from achieving their financial goals before the pandemic, nearly one-third of millennials and Generation X said they had too much debt, compared to 20% of older workers. Additionally, just over 50% of millennials, 42% of Gen X, and 41% of older workers said they weren’t earning enough money to achieve their goals.
Lastly, 31% of millennials, 20% of Generation X, and 16% of older workers said they didn’t understand financial language. And 34% of millennials, 27% of Generation X, and 23% of older workers also said they were unsure of how to evaluate financial products.
Though the middle of a financial crisis and pandemic may seem like a tough time to educate yourself on your financial options, now is actually the best time to take stock of where you are and figure out how to get to where you want to be.
Fortunately, FlexJobs is here to help. Head over to our financial wellness center and start your financial education. Read up on what health insurance options might be best for your situation, learn about the best ways to save for retirement, and discover new ways to protect your nest egg.
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