Americans have changed the way they plan for their futures financially as a result of COVID-19

Six in ten Americans would consider moving to a less populated area in order to better protect themselves against the second wave of COVID-19 or another pandemic. The study of 2,000 Americans examined the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on people's financial plans and the extreme lengths Americans are contemplating to protect themselves from this novel virus. Results found 71% say the pandemic has caused them to seriously reconsider how they should be financially planning for their futures and nearly six in ten (59%) say the virus has completely derailed those dreams. Among the most common things respondents named as now-vital financial goals were becoming debt-free (41%), moving out of the city (31%), getting a car (31%) and buying a house (31%). The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Self Financial revealed two-thirds have reconsidered their perspective on emergency funds. The average person is now aiming to have a "just in case" fund of over $4,300 set aside going forward. In the meantime 52% of respondents are relying more on their credit cards to make ends meet and 54% are worried they'll max out their credit cards during the pandemic. Finances aren't the only aspect of life Americans worry will be forever altered. Nearly three in four (73%) are concerned society will never be social the way it was pre-COVID-19. As many states begin to relax social distance requirements, respondents confessed there are some locations that they will continue to be wary of. Over half will be cautious on public transportation (52%) and 49% will be cagey about entering a movie theater. Forty-seven percent said bars and restaurants will still give them pause while four in ten will continue to be nervous in grocery stores. The workplace will be another venue facing a new reality. Of those polled forty-one percent of respondents are working from home and 10% were laid off with another 14% furloughed due to the pandemic. One in five of those planning on returning to work commute using public transportation or rideshare services, but many feel afraid to return. Of those who commute with others, four in five said they have considered getting a car in order to have a safer and socially distanced commute. Respondents who will be physically returning to the workforce named some requirements they'll need to feel safe upon their return including requiring masks (54%), hand sanitizer readily available, and socially distanced seating arrangements (45%). Over a third were in favor of staggered arrival and departure times for employees as well. A spokesperson for Self Financial said, "The data shows what many already suspected - how the world after COVID will be. Employers and businesses will need to adapt their benefits and protections if they want to retain high-quality employees and customers. One potentially compelling benefit, based on the results of this survey? Finding ways to help people shore up their financial security." Seven in ten made drastic cutbacks to their spending when they first entered quarantine for COVID-19. Of those who made seriously decreased spending decisions, 85% planning to continue to pinch pennies after the pandemic. The most common sectors people plan on maintaining a smaller spending habit were ordering food for pickup or delivery (36%), clothes, shoes and accessories (36%) and entertainment (34%). The spokesperson for Self Financial added, "The pandemic is forcing people to evaluate their financial plans and put more money towards preparing for emergencies. The first step towards making smarter money moves is to look carefully at every dollar you spend and make sure it goes towards things you need and value. If not, redirect your less thoughtful spending towards things that truly matter, such as securing your financial future."