Family Finances

Do Americans Even Need A Second Stimulus Check?

July 1, 2020  • Financial Security Program

FSP’s Joanna Smith-Ramani’s Yahoo Finance interview is featured in this 7/1/20 Forbes article by Shahar Ziv. Click here to access the full article. 

“Using data from the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, a research team led by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, John N. Friedman, and Michael Stepner was able to analyze the effect stimulus checks had on spending. They found that while spending increased modestly for high-income households, it spiked for low-income households in the two days after direct payments started to be disbursed in mid-April. This reinforces the rising inequality between low and high-income households and how important direct payments were to stave off financial crises.

Early data identified two main ways that Americans were using their stimulus funds: to pay for essentials and to save for an emergency. A May survey from YouGov asked respondents how they had spent the majority of their stimulus checks. The most common answer, 30 percent of responses, was ‘paid bills, followed by ‘put it in emergency savings’ and ‘bought essentials (food, hygiene products, etc.)’. Joanna Smith-Ramani, managing director of the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move that “folks are really worried about what’s coming in the future,” and are therefore, trying to save some of the stimulus funds…”