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Employee financial stress in the time of COVID-19

In just over 24 hours last week, over 450 working Americans took the time to tell us how they’re currently feeling about their finances – a clear indicator that it’s a topic on the top of their minds. The majority of these workers are paid hourly, and were 56% female and 44% male. Here’s what we learned (click to see full infographic):


  • 64% of employees say that in the past week, their personal finances have caused them worry most of or all of the time. Compare that to our survey from December 2019, in which 42% of employees reported feeling financial stress.
  • As you might expect, most employees (79%) say their current stress level about money has worsened since the pandemic began. 69% of employees feel worried and stressed in general, reflecting the fact that financial wellbeing is closely tied in with mental wellbeing.


  • More than 3/4 of employees say their household income has decreased since the beginning of the pandemic. About half have seen their own income decrease, 12% said their spouse or partner’s income has gone down, and 18% said both their and their spouse/partner’s income decrease.
  • People are borrowing to make ends meet. The most common ways? Using their credit cards (46%), borrowing money from family members (37%), or falling behind on bills (26%). 21% of respondents have pulled money out of retirement savings in order to make up the difference.
  • Unfortunately, the pandemic has also hit peoples’ emergency savings funds. When we ran our December 2019 survey, 47% of respondents said they’d have to borrow within one month if they were to lose their income. In this survey, 69% of people said they didn’t have a month’s worth of emergency savings set aside. 
  • What do people need right now? The three topics people said they’d find the most helpful in order to feel in control of their money during this time:

If you’re interested in better understanding your own financial fitness, you can also calculate your Financial Fitness Score with our calculator here, and get your own Financial Fitness Report which will show you how your score compares to others and some ways to increase it.


If you’re an employer, Salary Finance can help you address the most urgent financial needs of your employees. We know that workers dealing with financial stress are less productive, miss more days of work, suffer from depression, experience anxiety, and have troubled relationships with their co-workers. All of this affects wellbeing, culture, and the organization’s bottom line. Get in touch today to learn more about partnering with us to offer Salary Finance as a voluntary benefit to your employees. 

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