Americans will spend more preparing for natural disasters in 2021 than they did in 2020, and the reason is simple: COVID-19 showed just how scary life can be when you don’t have enough supplies and planning.
It’s obvious that COVID-19 took such a terrible and sudden toll, no one wants to be unprepared again – for anything.
When Debt.com polled more than 1,200 Americans, just over 3 in 10 said they were “spending a little more than usual” getting ready for hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, blizzards, and earthquakes. Nearly 1 in 10 said they were “spending at least double.” They all said COVID-19’s aftermath was directly responsible for their extra allocations.
“Even during the pandemic, we saw how Americans were changing their spending and saving habits, often for the better,” says Debt.com chairman Howard Dvorkin, CPA. “Now we’re seeing how long that will last. At least in this one area, for this one year, it’s obvious: COVID-19 took such a terrible and sudden toll, no one wants to be caught unprepared again – for anything.”
Debt.com’s Natural Disaster Survey not only revealed that Americans will be spending more money, they’ll be paying more attention. Just over 35 percent said they’ll “take government warnings more seriously and will prepare much better than I have in the past.” Only 14 percent said, “The pandemic actually made me more doubtful of government warnings and suggestions for preparing for natural disasters.”
For Dvorkin, a financial counselor for nearly three decades, two survey results intrigued him the most. First, for those who have been through a natural disaster before, less than 28 percent needed to use their credit card to pay for their recovery efforts. Yet those who did need their credit card for recovery efforts spent a significant amount: More than 4 in 10 charged over $500.
“On the one hand, I’m encouraged that many people could get their lives back to normal without charging extra on their credit cards — because it’s a very expensive form of debt,” Dvorkin said. “On the other hand, I worry about those who charged $500 or more. I suspect some of them are still paying that off, since their interest rate could easily top 20 percent.”
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