With No Deal in Sight, 6 in 10 Consumers Need Additional Stimulus Check to Make Ends Meet

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Updated on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic shows little to no sign of slowing, the U.S. government is struggling to come to an agreement on another relief package to help Americans stay afloat amid the economic storm caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Congress recently departed for its summer recess without a plan in place, and a new MagnifyMoney survey reveals that while politicians are in a stalemate, many consumers are desperate for a financial life raft.

Our survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that just over six in 10 Americans said they need another economic impact payment in order to make ends meet — including a staggering 82% who were laid off or furloughed. We also discovered that despite politicians being unable to come to an agreement on a new relief package, consumers’ support for another round of economic impact payments crosses party lines.

Key findings

  • Just over 6 in 10 Americans (61%) need another economic impact payment to make ends meet, including 82% who were laid off or furloughed and 71% of Gen X. With Congress unable to reach a deal before summer recess, this indicates that many consumers will be left with a gaping hole in their finances.
  • Consumers overwhelmingly support another round of relief checks, with 73% in favor. Both sides of the political spectrum agree on this, as 81% of surveyed Democrats and 78% of Republicans back a second stimulus payment.
  • Women especially need another stimulus payment to cover basic needs. Our survey found that women were more likely than men to plan to put their check toward bills (35% versus 19% of men), groceries (31% versus 20%) and rent or mortgage payments (24% versus 15%).
  • The majority of consumers think the relief payments should be made more than once or twice. Of that group, almost four in 10 believe checks should be issued every month. Additionally, nearly half (48%) of all consumers think the second round of stimulus payments should be more than the initial $1,200 amount.
  • Of those surveyed, one in four said a second round of economic impact payments would relieve their financial trouble entirely. This is up from the 18% who said the same about the first round of payments.

6 in 10 consumers need a second stimulus check to make ends meet

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the economy, our survey found that over half of consumers need financial assistance in order to make ends meet. Overall, 61% of survey respondents said they personally need another relief check, while only 32% said they don’t really need another one, but that it would help.

By far, the largest group of people who need a second relief check are those who are furloughed or unemployed, with 82% saying they need financial assistance. Additionally, our survey found that young adults are particularly in financial distress, with 71% of Gen Xers and 65% of millennials saying they need another check.

Our survey also suggests that women are getting hit particularly hard by the pandemic. When asked how they would spend a second relief check, women were more likely than men to use their check to pay for bills (35% versus 19% of men), buy groceries (31% versus 20%) and cover rent or mortgage payments (24% versus 15%).

Meanwhile, we found that 69% of men said they would save at least some of their second relief check, while only 45% of women plan to do the same. These findings indicate that women are likely in a more vulnerable financial position compared to their male counterparts, who seem likelier to be able to afford to put their relief check in savings rather than spend it on essentials.

Both Republicans and Democrats support another round of stimulus checks

While Congress struggles to reach an agreement on another financial relief package, our survey found that consumers from both political parties agree on one potential part of the plan: another round of economic impact payments.

We found that 81% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans think that it’s a good idea to provide citizens with a second round of relief checks to help counter the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. Our survey also revealed that people from both parties are confident the economic impact payments are getting into the right hands. Specifically, 59% of Republicans and 54% of Democrats think that another round of relief checks would help the right people (meaning those who need it the most).

Such widespread support for another round of relief checks could be due to the fact that both political parties are feeling the pain when it comes to the financial fallout from the pandemic. We found that 66% of Republicans said they personally need another relief check, as did 63% of Democrats.

This finding isn’t too surprising, as both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill agree on another round of relief checks — it’s in the details (such as the amount paid for dependents) that their positions start to diverge.

Consumers support more frequent and larger stimulus checks

Not only do consumers support another round of relief payments, but overall, we also found that more consumers this time around say another relief check should be for a larger amount.

When we last surveyed consumers in March, only 39% said they felt that the dollar amount of the relief checks was too small. Yet, in our new survey, nearly half (48%) of respondents said that the amount should be more than the standard $1,200 provided in the first round of payments. This could indicate that consumers are beginning to understand the length and severity of the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, our survey reveals that even consumers with high household incomes think that the stimulus payments should be for a greater dollar amount — including 52% of those with household incomes of at least $100,000. Surprisingly, that’s in comparison to just 45% of people with lower household incomes (between $25,000 and $34,999) who also feel that the relief checks should be more than $1,200.

Additionally, the majority of survey respondents support the payments being made more than twice. Specifically, 40% of consumers say they think the relief checks should be issued every month, while 19% said they should be issued less often than once a month but more than one or two times. Meanwhile, 28% said that the checks should be a one-time payment after the second round is doled out.

The support for bigger and more frequent economic impact payments could be chalked up to the fact that the majority of survey respondents said that another payment will help relieve at least some of the financial difficulties they are experiencing due to the coronavirus crisis. Notably, 25% said the payments will relieve all of the difficulties they are facing.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,010 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. We defined generations as the following ages in 2020:

  • Gen Z as ages 18 to 23
  • Millennials as ages 24 to 39
  • Gen X as ages 40 to 54
  • Baby boomers as ages 55 to 74

The survey was fielded from July 24-26, 2020.

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