SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 6, 2021 – As the United States continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, parents, especially mothers, continue to feel exasperated by financial and workplace challenges. Sixty-one percent of parents say they find it difficult to manage their finances due to priorities during the pandemic according to the MassMutual Consumer Spending & Saving Index. At the same time, a silver lining has emerged: almost two-thirds of parents (65%) say the pandemic has improved their relationship with their children.
“Many Americans are still experiencing the ripple effects of the pandemic on their financial, personal and professional lives, and they are taking steps for future unknowns,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S. “The challenges of the past year bolster our nearly 170-year-old commitment to help people secure their future and protect the ones they love.”
Complex balancing act of working parents
New financial, workplace and childcare responsibilities are converging to create heightened challenges for parents according to the index. More than half (52%) of parents are spending more on monthly family-related costs due to the pandemic, and one-third are spending $1,000+ more per month. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of parents dipped into savings over the last three months, significantly more than the general population (45%). The survey also found:
- The top challenge parents have faced during the pandemic is balancing caring for children with working.
- Nearly one in four (39%) parents are working more hours now than before the pandemic, with 40% citing childcare responsibilities as the top reason.
- Nearly three-quarters (73%) of millennial parents say they found it difficult to manage their finances during the pandemic, significantly more than parents overall (61%). Nearly half of millennial parents are also working more hours due to disruptions from children being home (46%).
- 20% of parents say balancing childcare responsibilities with work has had a negative impact on their career progression.
Disproportionate impact on mothers
The index shines a light on the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women. Mothers are significantly less likely (59%) than fathers (74%) to be optimistic about their finances. Additional findings include:
- Fathers were twice as likely to have increased their savings over the last three months (50% vs 25%).
- Mothers who reported saving less were also more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic (16% vs. 11% of fathers). Job loss is also the top reason mothers were more likely to dip into savings (26% vs.15% of fathers).
- Almost twice as many fathers reported being promoted and/or receiving a salary increase in the last three months (18% vs. 10% of mothers).
“The pandemic has affected parents in particularly challenging and unique ways,” continued Fanning, a father of four. “As we prepare for better days ahead, it’s important to openly acknowledge these challenges, plan ahead for changing and unknown financial circumstances, and seek support from friends, family, communities and professionals at every turn.”
Commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), the MassMutual Consumer Spending & Saving Index was conducted by PSB online between April 17-23, 2021 among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. PSB additionally conducted a nationwide oversample of 500 mothers and fathers with children living at home and a separate oversample of 500 adults statewide in Massachusetts. National and MA results are representative of age, gender, race, ethnicity and education.
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. Founded in 1851, the company has been continually guided by one consistent purpose: we help people secure their future and protect the ones they love. With a focus on delivering long-term value, MassMutual offers a wide range of protection, accumulation, wealth management and retirement products and services. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.