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The survey, which was conducted from Jan. 6-21, included over 3,000 Americans between the ages of 30 and 70 with at least $100,000 in investable assets.
The study found that COVID-19 had an uneven toll on Americans' finances, with a quarter (25%) of respondents saying that they are earning less money during the pandemic, while 10% reported their income has actually increased. The majority of respondents (63%) said their household income was not impacted by the pandemic.
Nearly half (45%) of respondents reduced their spending during the pandemic, with about 30% who expect to remain frugal with their money in the future. Meanwhile, a quarter of investors made big ticket purhcases or other large expenses, including home renovations.
Once the pandemic ends, a quarter of investors anticipate spending more money than usual on activities they had to postpone.
Over 6 in 10 respondents said protecting their financial assets (63%) and planning for uncertainty (62%) are more important to them now than before the pandemic and nearly half (45%) believe the priority shift will be long lasting.
Respondents believe growing their savings (58%) and their investments (46%) have become more important during the pandemic, with more than a quarter (26%) planning to increase the amount they invest for the long term in 2021.
Among respondents who previously said they would retire, 69% percent said their goals have not changed. Nearly one in five (18%) have accelerated their retirement plans, and 83% of those respondents said the decision was voluntary. Only 13% of respondents with a retirement date in mind said the pandemic had delayed their plans.
Investors cited health and safety as the top reasons behind the shift in their financial priorities, with 71% of survey participants who said keeping their family physically safe has become more important to them during the pandemic.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of investors who did not have an emergency savings fund prior to the pandemic put one in place or plan to do so soon due to COVID-19 and 44% of respondents who did not have a will or estate plan prior to the pandemic have either created one during the last year or plan to do so soon.
In addition, about 30% of investors surveyed said they are discussing finances more with their children, while a quarter of investors have increased discussions with their spouse or partner about long-term financial issues. Nearly a quarter of respondents with siblings (23%) are also engaging in more conversations about the personal finances of their loved ones or themselves.
“While the economic impact of the pandemic has unevenly affected people across the country, it has been a wake-up call to everyone," Ameriprise Vice President of Financial Advice Strategy Marcy Keckler said. "The extraordinary circumstances of the last year convinced many people – even those who were already on strong financial footing – to take actions they may have previously put off.”
As investors are making plans to prepare for their future, many are seeking financial advice from a professional.
The majority of respondents with a financial advisor (83%) said the pandemic has confirmed the importance of working with one while nearly four in ten investors (39%) who do not have a financial advisor believe working with one could help them withstand unexpected changes.
About 30% of survey participants without a financial advisor prior to the pandemic have either started to work with one or intend to do so soon due to COVID-19.