Shifting priorities: Americans are simplifying life and saving more despite economic challenges

As you sit and look over your finances today, how are you feeling?

For each of us, the answer may be very different.
We don’t know about you, but having an emergency savings account has really helped folks during this pandemic. And if you didn’t have much of one before, we bet you will now. Whether you are working or not – most of you are shifting your priorities, simplifying life and getting back to basics. And we think that’s kinda cool.

Where do you see yourself in this shift?
We hope you are doing well and are making some good choices with your money. According to recent research, here’s what your fellow Americans are doing differently. Are you one of them?

Savings rates are at an all-time high.
The biggest priority shift from this past year is regardless of cash flow circumstances, 69% of Americans agree that they have become more of a saver than a spender over the past six months.¹ Saving is wicked smart now and always.

This can be a lifesaver.
Prior to the pandemic, emergency savings may not have been awesome. Did you know up to 46 million people depleted whatever emergency savings they had? ₄ But the good news is that, despite these key issues, more of Americans surveyed are seeking to get back on track with 66% agreeing that they are better prepared for future emergencies and 62% are saving more in order to cover unexpected expenses.¹ Now that is how it’s done.

Retirement is still a priority.
With uncertainty brings a need for stability. More than half of individuals (55%) are more focused on planning for retirement. More people (87%) want guaranteed income in retirement.¹ As a result, 85% of people believed in a long-term view for investing, with 86% staying the course during a volatile market and¹ think it is important or extremely important so they can retire well.¹

Consumerism is gone. Well, not really.
A shift in spending has people moving away from excess optional spending. They’re prioritizing needs vs. wants. According to recent research², the highest percentage of spending is going toward the basics like groceries, utilities, health care and housing.² Waste not, want not.

Less is more.
Overall, (73%) of Americans asked agree that material goods matter less given their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and (75%) of people have become more focused on what matters more, their mental health and emotional well-being.¹ Emphasizing the concept that wealth has garnered new shades beyond financial means.

People are still hurting.
People are still worried and for some, it may take the better part of this year to get on their feet. Health, financial and employment concerns top the list for anxiety² and for many, just keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table is all they can do right now.

Good news, here’s what you can do.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) ³ for emotional and mental support. They offer practical resources if you
are unemployed, need help paying bills, finding food, shelter, low cost health care or prescription drug cost assistance. ³

Whatever your circumstance, take this time to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Whole wellness is vital and is foundational to resilience after a tough year. Remember, learning to live simply can bring a sense of peace and well-being that can last beyond today – and we could all use a little more of the good stuff!

Come as you are, leave feeling better


Read more posts from our Everyday Wellness series, a blog series created for your whole health and well being.

¹Based on the results of a Voya Financial survey conducted through Ipsos on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,004 adults aged 18+ in the U.S. (including 534 who are currently working). Research was conducted Nov. 19-20, 2020.
² Deliotte, State of the Consumer Tracker website,, last accessed February 22, 2021
³ National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI, website to resources for help,, last accessed February 22, 2021
₄, 46 million Americans wiped out their emergency savings during the pandemic — How to turn it all around in 2021,, last accessed March 11, 2021