According to a survey by CNBC + Acorns, black women bear the brunt of the financial troubles caused by pandemics
Like many single parents, JoAnn Hargrove is struggling during the pandemic.
Your 7-year-old daughter spent the past year at home and studied virtually. That meant Hargrove, a US postman in Pittsburgh, had to stop working during the week. She is now collecting partial unemployment and working Saturdays and Sundays while her mother watches her daughter.
“I literally live from paycheck to paycheck,” said the 37-year-old.
“Food is so expensive,” added Hargrove. “I didn’t realize when I was making the money I was making.”
JoAnn Hargrove had to stop working full-time to help her 7-year-old daughter with virtual learning.
Courtesy JoAnn Hargrove
Fortunately, Hargrove has some savings that are dwindling. She tries to hold back what is left so that she has a pillow when government aid runs out.
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“I’m counting on the stimulus check,” Hargrove said, referring to the next payment that is currently on its way through Congress.
She is not alone. Nearly a third, or 29%, of adults in the US expect another round of government relief, and another 24% say they need it but doubt it will happen, a new survey from CNBC + Acorns Invest in You, which was conducted by SurveyMonkey was found.
People of color are more likely to rely on relief, especially black women. Half of black Americans and 40% of Hispanics said they counted on it, while 57% of black women said the same thing. In addition, 24% of blacks and Hispanics need it but don’t think it will bear fruit.
The survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey between February 1st and 8th among a national sample of 6,182 adults.
Many have also taken immediate action over the past year to manage their finances. Again, people of color – especially black women – felt the greatest influence.
A quarter of Americans have used their emergency savings or borrowed money from family or a friend since the Covid-19 outbreak. Almost 40% of black women said the same thing, compared to 28% of Hispanic women and 27% of white women. White (22%) and Spanish (20%) men were the least likely to take such action, compared with 26% of black men.
There are also racial differences in the previous economic relief payments. When asked what they used the money most for, 20% of white Americans said they saved it, versus 9% of blacks and 14% of Hispanics. Blacks and Hispanics were more likely to use it to pay their rent or mortgage, 26% and 27% respectively versus whites (12%).
“There must be changes in the system and in the policies that have essentially made the scale of the challenges we are seeing possible,” said Dr. Shannah Tharp Gilliam, Director of Research and Evaluation at Homewood Children’s Village.
The nonprofit’s mission is to improve the lives of children and their families in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Its components are mostly African American. During the pandemic, the organization distributed more than 100,000 meals to children, as well as products, laptops for virtual education, school supplies and diapers.
“Until we realize America will rise or fall together, we will continue to see the same struggles,” said Gilliam, who is also part of the Black Equity Coalition, a Pittsburgh-based network established to help black and black Brown communities navigate to Covid-19.
Some of the changes she believes needed include more opportunities for better wages, laws to help those convicted of crimes get a second chance to support their families, and reconsidering the qualifications for some entry-level and middle-class positions.
On a personal level, those trying to find their financial footing should get back to basics and have a spending plan, said certified financial planner Crystal Alford-Cooper, vice president of planning at Glen Echo, Law & Associates in Maryland.
“We’re going to the basics,” she said. “We ask people to look at their expenses: you know what they can do – back to defining needs and wants.”
Hargrove does just that. Her biggest concern, however, is her job. Her ability to take vacation and only work two days a week will expire in late March unless extended by the Post, she said. If it’s not renewed, she has no idea what she’s going to do.
“I’ve been working hard on everything I’ve achieved up to this point in my life,” she said.
“In order for something like this to take everything away from me, that’s what I worry about,” added Hargrove. “It scares me.”
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.