A new survey conducted between November 2020 and May 2021 found that 65% of central Massachusetts residents surveyed described themselves as uncertain, stressed or extremely stressed when thinking about money.
Workers Credit Union regularly asks its members what they think about their financial health in order to combat the shame and stigma associated with the financial hardships that many people face.
“For many people, opening the conversation about financial well-being can be difficult and should be approached in a non-judgmental way that is empowering,” said Peter Rice, director of banking services for Workers Credit Union.
Only 55% of those surveyed said they had an emergency fund, 78% said they were in debt and a third said they lived paycheck to paycheck.
The survey provides insight into how residents’ feelings about their finances have changed from month to month during the pandemic. In response to the question “What keeps you from sleeping at night?” the response “My credit score” was the highest response throughout the survey period. Concerns about buying a home skyrocketed to second in May, and the need to save for a car and other expenses dropped from eighth to third. Longer-term concerns about funding future college expenses or planning for retirement were lower in priority, indicating that Massachusetts residents are more concerned with day-to-day financial difficulties and less focused on their long-term financial goals. .
Answers to the question “What keeps you from sleeping at night” (as of May 2021):
1. I am worried about my credit rating.
2. I am not sure I can buy a house.
3. I need to save for a car or other purchase.
4. I have no idea how to budget.
5. None of the above is true. I have that !
6. I don’t understand “the market”.
7. I will never be able to retire.
8. I don’t know if I can pay for college.
9. I am not sure I have the right insurance.
Workers Credit Union found that high quality financial coaching can help alleviate the anxieties expressed by members in this survey. It allows people to voice their fears and turn them into a plan that can improve their financial well-being.
Responses reported are for the period November 2020 to May 2021. Respondents reside primarily in central Massachusetts and represent a diverse population. Fifty-five percent of respondents identified as female, 44% were male, and 1% chose not to respond. Of the respondents, 27% were aged 25-34, 21% were aged 35-44, 20% were aged 18-24, 16% were aged 45-54, 11% were aged 55 at age 64 and 6% were aged 65 and older.