Are We in a “Shecession”?
Women tend to fall behind men when it comes to financial wellness, and this pandemic is no different. While millions of Americans are concerned about protecting their credit during the coronavirus pandemic, women are being impacted especially hard.
Managing your credit score during a pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is impacting all genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. But some are facing greater financial challenges as they wait for the economy to rebound. Almost 90 million Americans are worried about their credit scores and whether they will be damaged before the crisis is over.
Women in particular are fearful of losing ground; they are 21% more likely than men to expect that their debt levels will increase as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new WalletHub survey1. In addition, women earn less and generally have a less secure financial safety net than men. The coronavirus pandemic has been especially damaging to women who are more likely than men to be employed in the service, hospitality, and retail industries that have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus shutdowns and work-at-home mandates. In fact, The New York Times has even coined the term “shecession”2 to refer to the negative economic impact of the pandemic on women, a reference to the fact that “a majority of the jobs lost in April were held by women.”
It’s normal to feel anxious when the future is uncertain. That’s why it’s especially important for women to take concrete steps to protect their credit, so we don’t lose financial ground during the crisis. Here are 5 simple steps you can take to protect yourself and be prepared for the economic rebound.
- Understand why it matters. A few late or missed payments can affect your credit score, which in turn can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars more in higher interest payments on mortgages, credit cards, and insurance. Keeping your credit history strong saves you money.
- Reach out. If your income has been cut, or you worry about paying your bills, reach out right away to your lenders, landlords, and credit card companies to see how they can help you.3 So far, 3.5 million mortgage borrowers have requested forbearance, representing nearly 7% of all mortgages nationwide.4 Any payment concessions they agree to will not harm your credit.
- Pay the minimum. We often urge consumers to pay off credit card balances in full each month, and that’s always a goal to strive for. But in times of crisis, save your cash to ensure you can make minimum payments on all your bills. Paying down the balances will have to wait until later. Paying at least the minimum keeps your credit pristine.
- Keep an eye on it. There’s no substitute for monitoring your credit to ensure you’re on top of all your bills and everything is being reported correctly, especially if you’re taking advantage of any special forbearance programs under the CARES Act. Delayed payments made under those programs with the consent of your lender will be considered paid timely. Free credit monitoring services are available online through several membership and consumer groups, as well as credit card and credit rating companies like Experian.
- Take advantage. Check out all the stimulus and benefit programs you may be eligible for, like unemployment benefits, loans for small businesses, subsidized healthcare premiums, and provisions under the CARES Act. The sooner you get on your feet, the faster the overall economy will pick up, and that helps everyone in the community.
Ensuring you have a strategy for keeping your credit score as high as possible will provide long-term benefits as we get to the other side of this crisis. Reach out to your advisor if you have any concerns about your individual situation.
Sign up for our newsletter
Watch our webinar:
Tax Strategies in Today’s Environment: Roth IRA Conversions
Listen to our Podcast:
The Dos and Dont’s of Approaching the Market During Volatile Times
Watch our webinar:
Why Now is the Best Time to Gift to Your Loved Ones
Listen to our Podcast:
Financially Prepare for Retirement
Listen to our Podcast:
The Power of a Financial Plan
Watch our webinar:
3 Ways to Manage Your Wealth-Life Balance
Talk with a Local Advisor
GameStop: Making Sense of it All
Feb 1, 2021
Mercer Advisors Capital Markets Update and Outlook: January 2021
Jan 27, 2021
5 Ways to Align Your Insurance and Wealth Planning
Jan 21, 2021
Planning for a Non-Traditional Family (Which Is Probably Yours)
Jan 19, 2021
A Year to Remember: Resilient Markets Overcome Pandemic Panic
Jan 13, 2021
1 ‘Coronavirus Credit Score Survey & Tips to Protect Your Score,’ WalletHub, May 6, 2020,
2 ‘For the First Time in Decades, This Recession Is a ‘Shecession,’ The New York Times, May 9, 2020, https://nyti.ms/35R7OM1
3 ‘Help for Credit Cards & Loans by Financial Institutions During COVID,’ WalletHub, May 5, 2020,
4 ‘If you’re skipping your mortgage payments, watch out for this costly mistake,’ MarketWatch, May 3, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-no-1-mistake-to-avoid-if-youre-skipping-your-mortgage-payments-2020-04-28?mod=article_inline
Mercer Advisors Inc. is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. and is not involved with investment services. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”) is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Some of the research and ratings shown in this presentation come from third parties that are not affiliated with Mercer Advisors. The information is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed or warranted by Mercer Advisors. Content, research, tools, and stock or option symbols are for educational and illustrative purposes only and do not imply a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell a particular security or to engage in any particular investment strategy. For financial planning advice specific to your circumstances, talk to a qualified professional at Mercer Advisors. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, no current or prospective client should assume that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy or product made reference to directly or indirectly, will be profitable or equal to past performance levels. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Changes in investment strategies, contributions or withdrawals may materially alter the performance and results of your portfolio. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will either be suitable or profitable for a client’s investment portfolio. Historical performance results for investment indexes and/or categories, generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges or the deduction of an investment-management fee, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. Economic factors, market conditions, and investment strategies will affect the performance of any portfolio and there are no assurances that it will match or outperform any particular benchmark. This document may contain forward-looking statements including statements regarding our intent, belief or current expectations with respect to market conditions. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. While due care has been used in the preparation of forecast information, actual results may vary in a materially positive or negative manner. Forecasts and hypothetical examples are subject to uncertainty and contingencies outside Mercer Advisors’ control. Mercer Advisors is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice to clients. All estate planning documentation preparation and other legal advice is provided through its affiliation with Advanced Services Law Group, Inc.