Reflecting on 2 years of COVID

See how our relationship to money has changed since the start of the pandemic.

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For 2 years, COVID has dominated the news cycle and upended nearly every corner of our lives: how we live, where we work, how we learn, and the ways we socialize. According to a new study by Fidelity, it's also impacted how we think about our money and how we choose to manage it.1

For many Americans, more time at home gave them more time to engage with their finances, and even prompted some to start investing for the first time.

63% of investors have changed their investing habits in some way since the start of the pandemic.

20% started investing more money

19% changed the types of investments they make

9% started investing for the first time

50% of young women report that they have started to invest in the past 6 months or plan to do so in the next 6 months.2

For 2 years we've been stuck in uncertainty. And for much of that time, we've also been stuck in our homes.

Yet despite all the challenges COVID posed to our ability to make long-term plans (and despite all the talk of revenge spending and pent-up demand for travel), Americans are still far more focused on meeting long-term goals than they are on instant gratification. After all, COVID taught us that life is precious, but also helped us realize how important it is to have a strong financial safety net.

65% said they would rather put money in an emergency fund than spend money on a vacation.

79% said they would rather save for retirement than save for a wedding or other big event.

62% would rather put $100 into a 401(k) than spend it on a feel-good purpose.

Who knows if we'll ever see an "end" to COVID. But for the first time in 2 years, other economic and geopolitical concerns may have now overtaken the pandemic.

In recent months, inflation has begun to rear its head as a real concern to Americans' financial security—for the first time in a generation. And geopolitical conflict is creating a new kind of global economic uncertainty.

68% say inflation is causing them stress3

31% have grown more concerned about the impact inflation will have on their ability to save

2 in 5 are very concerned about the health and stability of the economy.3

Just as COVID may never fully recede, there will always be some sort of uncertainty on the horizon. But having a sound financial plan and sticking to it can help you feel better prepared and more confident—no matter what tomorrow's news cycle may bring.

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