Survey Shows Pandemic Has Hurt Financial Health of 4 in 10 Floridians

“MoneyWise Florida” poll results reveal continued stress and worry
about the upcoming holidays, money matters, and the New Year

TALLAHASSEE – Nine months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 40% of Floridians feel they are worse off financially than before, with money matters and financial wellness one of their top concerns heading into the New Year. That’s one of the biggest revelations in a new survey released today by MoneyWise Florida, a statewide financial education initiative conducted by a coalition of organizations representing financial, insurance, and consumer interests.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous financial challenges to millions of Florida families and businesses and we must work together to provide important guidance on ways Floridians can navigate this prolonged period of financial uncertainty,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “Since the pandemic began, I have been advocating for Floridians by raising awareness and encouraging Legislators to take action to protect our small businesses to ensure Florida’s economy gets back on its feet. The results of this survey confirm the need to continue to provide Floridians with comprehensive resources and tools to help them navigate financial challenges. I have no doubt that through it all, Florida families and businesses are resilient, and we are in this together.”

The new statewide survey, conducted November 17, 2020, also shows that for many Floridians, this holiday season will include either no family gatherings or much smaller ones, and fewer gifts. Among the findings:

    • While nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) are looking forward to the holiday season, six in 10 (63%) feel apprehensive and worried at the same time.
    • The leading causes of holiday stress include not being able to spend it with family (44%), someone getting sick after spending time with family (40%), and not having enough money for gifts (35%).
    • Six in 10 respondents (63%) plan to stay home for the holidays with the majority (76%) planning to spend them either alone, with people who live in their home already, or a few extended family members.
    • Slightly more than half of respondents (54%) plan to spend less on gifts this year, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) saying they plan not to purchase any gifts this year.
    • Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) said they would spend $500 or less on gifts this year.
    • For those who are spending, 43% plan to do more shopping online this year than last year.

The survey findings also showed that the top three worries for Floridians heading into 2021 are getting COVID-19 (53%), money matters (44%), and not seeing family members (40%). Not being able to save money came in fourth at 37%.

“While an effective vaccine offers hope for ending the pandemic, most Floridians understand that we are still months away from resuming our pre-pandemic lives,” said Kevin D. Johnson, CEO of Suncoast Credit Union, the statewide sponsor of MoneyWise Florida. “Until then, it’s important that we continue to help inform Floridians on money matters and ways to become more financially fit so that families are better equipped financially going forward. That’s the goal of MoneyWise Florida, which also aligns with Suncoast’s mission to improve the quality of peoples’ lives.”

The MoneyWise Florida initiative offers a wide range of free resources and tools through the website, as well as a series of informational videos on a range of financial topics. It’s all part of a comprehensive effort to help Floridians make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families.

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