CNBC News Releases

Forty Percent of Americans Had to Take Emergency Measures to Manage Amid Pandemic, According to the Latest Invest in You Survey

Survey Conducted by CNBC and Acorns in Partnership with SurveyMonkey

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. and SAN MATEO, CA, February 25, 2021 – CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and Acorns, the country's fastest growing financial wellness system, today announced the results of the latest Invest in You Survey. The national survey, conducted in partnership with SurveyMonkey (Nasdaq: SVMK), a leader in agile software solutions for customer experience, market research and survey feedback, examined the saving and spending behavior of more than 6,150 Americans ages 18 and up.

Nearly a full year into the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey reveals the many ways Americans have managed their personal finances through uncertain times and underscores a need for more relief from the federal government. Forty percent of respondents say they have taken an emergency step to shore up their finances in the pandemic, whether by tapping emergency savings, borrowing money from family or friends, or visiting a food bank. And more than half of those surveyed (53%) say they are in need of another round of direct payments from the federal government. Thirty-one percent of respondents say they've used previous government checks to cover everyday expenses while 16% used previous checks to pay their rent or mortgage.

The survey found a more dire situation for Black and Hispanic Americans compared to white Americans. Black and Hispanic respondents were twice as likely as white respondents to say they are counting on more government relief. And Black women were much more likely than any other group to say they had borrowed money from family or friends and used a food bank to make ends meet during the pandemic.

On the brighter side, the pandemic has created a new class of investors. Ten percent of Americans say they became first-time stock market investors in the last 12 months. That includes 13% of Black respondents and 13% of Hispanic respondents.

Additional findings from the Invest in You Survey include:

·     10% of Americans don't know how they'd come up with $2,000 in a pinch

o18% of Black respondents and 16% of Hispanic respondents say they don't know how they'd cover a $2,000 emergency

o52% of all Americans say they would get the $2,000 from savings

·     18% of Americans say nobody knows how much money they make and they wouldn't tell anybody who asked

o24% of Americans say their parents know how much money they make and 38% would tell them if they asked

o41% of parents with adult children say they would tell their kids how much they make if they asked

o31% of parents with children under 18 say they would tell their kids how much they make if they asked

o6% of Americans say their co-workers know how much they make and 8% would tell their coworkers if they asked

·     38% of Americans rate their knowledge of personal finance as "average"

o34% say their personal finance knowledge is "very good" and 12% say "excellent"

o15% of men say their personal finance knowledge is "excellent" versus 9% of women

o87% think financial literacy should be required learning in schools

o52% say they were "self-taught" personal finance

"The Invest in You Survey results shed light on the financial inequities faced by Black and Hispanic Americans that became exacerbated by the pandemic," said Jon Cohen, Chief Research Officer at SurveyMonkey. "The large disparities underscore how important federal action is to recovery for so many: Blacks (50%) and Hispanics (40%) are much more apt than whites (22%) to be counting on a new, large government relief bill to get by."

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.


This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted February 1 - 8, 2021 among a national sample of 6,182 adults. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

About CNBC

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About CNBC + Acorns Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.

CNBC + Acorns Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow. is dedicated to helping every American make smarter decisions about how they save, spend, invest and protect their money. Our goal is to equalize access to financial information, strategies, and expert advice, so every person of every income level, race, ethnicity and gender orientation, can make educated, empowered decisions about their financial lives and futures.

About SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is a leader in agile software solutions for customer experience, market research, and survey feedback. The company's platform empowers more than 20 million active users to analyze and act on feedback from employees, customers, website and app users, and market research respondents. SurveyMonkey's products, enterprise solutions, and integrations enable more than 345,000 organizations to deliver better customer experiences, increase employee retention​, and unlock growth and innovation. Ultimately, SurveyMonkey's vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices.