New Research Shows Pandemic Had All Income Levels Living Paycheck to Paycheck

  • Purchasing Power® Report Reveals the State of Employee Finances: 2021

Household income levels don’t discriminate. Living paycheck to paycheck from February 2020-2021 was reported by full-time employees/those with a spouse employed full-time at all household income levels1, and those with household incomes less than $100,000 say that what worries them today is having enough money in emergency savings to cover unexpected expenses (40%). Further, while the majority (52%) of full-time employees/those with a spouse employed full-time expect their financial situation to be better by January 2022, 51% also anticipate that their financial stress level will be the same or worse in February 2022 than it is now.

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Those are among the key findings of “The State of Employee Finances: 2021, A Purchasing Power Report®, based on a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Purchasing Power, a voluntary benefit fintech company. The survey was conducted online within the U.S., February 10-12, 2021, among 917 U.S. adults 18 and older who are employed full-time or have a spouse employed full-time. It provides insight into the effect of COVID-19 on their financial situation, their financial stress and what the future holds.

“Prior to the pandemic, most workers already were financially stressed and living paycheck to paycheck2 with little or no savings for unexpected expenses, and the impact of COVID-19 took it to an even lower level,” said Trey Loughran, CEO, Purchasing Power. “Though the economy is better now than it was during the shutdown last year, the pandemic is still with us, and it will take more time for employees’ financial situation to recover.”

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Loughran continued, “This report paints a clearer picture of what employees’ financial situation and financial stress levels are today and will be in January 2022, and ways employers can help. The study also shows that employers who implement robust financial wellness benefits will gain from increased employee performance and retention.”

According to the survey, full-time employees said that financial well-being benefits matter. In fact, 78% of full-time employees reported that they can tell how much their employer cares about their financial well-being by the benefits they offer. And 79% said they would be more likely to stay with their present employer if they offered more financial well-being benefits.

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