Consumers Delaying Milestones, Changing Routines Due to Coronavirus

Millennials postponing weddings, children, homeownership
A couple stressed about bills

The wait for normalcy will be even longer for some who are postponing major life goals because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has sparked money woes as consumers have struggled to make ends meet with reduced hours and layoffs. The pandemic has created so much financial uncertainty that some consumers are changing future plans, too, a survey by personal finance software brand Quicken found.

Celebrations associated with personal milestones have taken a hit as a result of stay-at-home orders around the U.S. For example, college and high school graduation ceremonies have been canceled, and couples have had to squash long-planned anniversary trips.

Millennials impacted heavily

Millennials in particular have endured a number of COVID-19-related setbacks. The survey found for millennials:

  • 8% said they’ve postponed a wedding
  • 13% said they’ve put off having a child

One-fourth (25%) of millennial respondents — the highest percentage among generations — said they’ve been significantly impacted negatively by volatility sparked by the COVID-19 crisis. Also, one-third of millennials said they’ve lost their job or had work hours reduced, while 38% said another member of their household had lost a job or had work hours reduced.

There has been much speculation on how the pandemic might affect the housing market, and the Quicken survey suggests the news might not be good. Among millennial respondents, 23% said they were putting off buying a house anytime soon.

But millennials aren’t the only ones choosing to push back their plans because of the pandemic. In fact, 13% of baby boomers said they’re delaying their retirement. Many seasoned workers are concerned that the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis could affect their future income or ability to save for retirement.

Routines, living situations shaken up

More than a third of respondents (35%) said they’ve shifted to working from home. With schools closed across the country, parents are having to perform double-duty, balancing their workloads while home schooling their children.

Among survey respondents, 21% said they’re supervising their children and helping with distance learning. Also, 10% of respondents said they’re caring more for elderly parents than they would have had to do otherwise.

Some consumers have even seen their living situations change because of the pandemic:

  • 11% said they’ve had to move back home with a parent
  • 7% said they’ve had one or more adult children move in with them

Methodology: Quicken surveyed more than 1,300 consumers between the ages of 18 and 73 in April 2020. Millennials were classified as respondents ages 23 to 38, while baby boomers were classified as those ages 55 to 73.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.