Although it would be fair to say that there is probably no one on earth that has not been affected by a global pandemic in some way, it is also fair to say that that it affected people very differently. Financially speaking, while the pandemic may have been catastrophic for some, it was also hugely beneficial for others. That being said, there are also some commonalities experienced by almost everyone. Here are three ways that people’s finances were affected in the last year.
- Unexpected windfalls
Massive gains in the stock market led some Americans to suddenly have an investment portfolio worth double or even triple what it had been worth in 2019. In addition, skyrocketing home prices also allowed some Americans to sell their homes for double or even triple what they initially paid for them. These two factors combined also led a number of Americans to consider retiring earlier than anticipated, which in turn had a dramatic effect on the labor market.
- Unequal labor market
While some people worked in sectors that made for an easy transition to work from home, millions of others lost their jobs entirely. Although some industries rebounded fairly quickly, the hospitality sector in particular took huge hits and has still not recovered. While generous federal unemployment benefits kept some floating for a short time, the benefits have since run out, leaving millions still in the lurch with no indiction of when or if that sector will ever recover.
- Inequalities along racial and gender lines
While just over half of all American adults rated their personal financial situation as excellent or good in 2021, about 60% of White and Asian adults rated their personal situation as being excellent or good, while 66% of Black adults and 59% of Hispanic adults rated their financial situation as being only fair or in poor shape according to a study conducted by Pew research. In addition, nearly 58% of men rated their personal financial situation as being excellent or good, while only 49% of women said the same thing. While it is clear that the pandemic had a powerful impact economically on almost everyone, it is also clear there are certainly some who felt it more strongly than others and that the impact was not felt the same way across the board.