According to a new survey released by the National Endowment for Financial Education, nearly 9 in 10 Americans say the COVID-19 crisis is causing stress on their personal finances.

More than half (54%) of Americans say among the top five things causing the most financial stress right now is not having enough saved (41% for emergency savings; 23% for retirement), while 48% say they are worried about their ability to pay bills. 

With recent news from the Department of Labor that 1 in 10 Americans is now seeking unemployment benefits, it’s clear that worry about job security could be escalating. The NEFE survey finds that 39% of employed Americans say stress over job security is among their top financial concerns. 

The survey was conducted online by the Harris Poll, on behalf of NEFE, April 7-9, among more than 2,000 U.S. adults.

A majority (75%) of respondents said they have taken steps to adjust their personal finances due to the COVID-19 outbreak: 
– 42% said they have cut monthly expenses. 
– 26% are putting off major financial decisions. 
– 22% have increased contributions towards savings. 

Just 17% said they have tapped into emergency savings, with 6% saying they have borrowed against retirement savings. Additionally, only 12% said they plan to defer debt payments and 10% said they have taken on more credit card debt.

“This outbreak is an unprecedented event and it’s understandable that Americans from all income levels, ethnicities and regions are concerned about their finances and are taking steps to adjust to their new normal,” said Billy Hensley, president and CEO of Denver-based NEFE. “While the strain from this crisis is immense, there should be focus on protecting our financial well-being in addition to our physical health and the safety of our families.”