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COVID-19 May Have Hit Young People Hardest: CUNA Mutual Survey

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What You Need to Know

  • The survey participants all had an annual income from $35,000 to $99,999.
  • The Gen X participants had the biggest problems with emergency savings.
  • The Gen Z participants earned more than typical Americans their age.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have hit successful young adults hard.

Many high-income adult members of “Generation Z” — people who are now ages 18 to 24 — told CUNA Mutual recently that they faced setbacks as a result of the pandemic.

CUNA Mutual is a Madison, Wisconsin-based group of insurance, investment and financial services companies that has its roots in the credit union industry.

The company hired an outside firm to conduct an online survey in April. The main sample included about 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 or older. All participants in the sample had to have an annual income of $35,000 to $99,999.

The survey firm CUNA Mutual hired bases its generational categories on the following birth-year ranges:

  • Generation Z: 1997 or later
  • Millennial: 1981-1996
  • Generation X: 1964-1980
  • Baby Boomer: 1946-1964

The survey firm is not yet routinely surveying members of Generation Alpha — children born around 2010 or later.

The sample income criteria may affect the nature of the responses for members of Gen Z: People under 25 who are already earning than $35,000 per year may be on an especially good financial track.

Only about 13% of U.S. residents who are 21 years old earn $35,000 or more per year, according to an income distribution calculator posted by  DQYDJ.

But CUNA Mutual Found that the Gen Z workers who were in its sample reported better financial outcomes than the average survey participant and worse health outcomes.

Gen Z participants were more likely than Gen X or millennial participants to say they had at least three months of emergency savings, but they were also more likely to say they had suffered a physical or mental health setback as a result of the pandemic.

Here’s a look at the data for participants who said they had only enough emergency savings to last for three months, or even less emergency savings than that:

  • Generation Z: 35%
  • Millennial: 48%
  • Generation X: 65%
  • Baby Boomer: 35%

Here are the numbers for participants who said they had suffered a physical or mental health setback as a result of the pandemic:

  • Generation Z: 47%
  • Millennial: 45%
  • Generation X: 38%
  • Baby Boomer: 25%

For life and annuity professionals, the CUNA Mutual survey results may be a sign that many young, hard-working people who should be good prospect for life insurance and disability insurance may have extra trouble with getting through the underwriting process for products such as life insurance and disability insurance.

(Image: Shutterstock)