Financial anxiety up around the globe, suggests survey

Bloomberg September 15 | Updated on September 15, 2020 Published on September 15, 2020

OECD’s 26-country survey shows that many are unprepared for the fiscal shock waves from Covid-19

As the world reels from the fiscal shock waves of Covid-19, a new 26-country survey suggests that many people are perilously unprepared for a major economic jolt.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 2020 International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy, 42 per cent of the 1,25,787 adults polled reported worrying about meeting everyday expenses; 40 per cent were concerned about their financial situation; and 37 per cent reported they were just getting by.

Most concerning, given the threat of mass long-term unemployment, is the response to the question, “If you lost your main source of income, how long could you continue to cover your living expenses, without borrowing any money or moving house?” 28 per cent said about a week; 25 per cent said about a month; 15 per cent said about three months; and 18 per cent said more than six months.

Americans in the same boat

The remainder, just over 14 per cent, reported not knowing, which the study’s authors suggest is revealing of either unpreparedness to consider such eventuality or lack of resources for a financial cushion. And the financial precariousness in this increasingly unstable world is far from evenly distributed.

Although the OECD survey did not include the US, a recent National Public Radio report indicates that many Americans are in the same boat: At least half of all households in the four largest US cities Chicago (50 per cent), New York (53 per cent), Los Angeles (56 per cent) and Houston (63 per cent) reported facing serious financial problems, including depleted savings, trouble paying bills and affording medical care.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on September 15, 2020
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.