I think it’s safe to say that, despite the imminent lifting of remaining restrictions, life may never fully return to ‘normal’ in the wake of COVID.

While the more obvious signs are the ominous presence of face masks and hand sanitiser at every turn, the more subtle - mostly unspoken - changes have happened in our minds. In particular, how we now think about our finances and money in a new light. 

In a Gravity survey* earlier this year, we asked our customers to tell us whether the COVID pandemic impacted their relationship with money and finances. A resounding 69% said yes, it had. 

*Survey conducted in February 2021 with 86 respondents who were Gravity customers at the time.

But we wanted to know how, exactly! 

There were a variety of detailed answers, but five distinctly common themes stood out, which we’ll run through below. 

5 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed How We Think About Money and Finances 

1. Accelerating The Demise of Cash 


“Most people don't need traditional banks/money as they're never open half the time anyway.”

“I believe everything should be digital and there is no need for physical banks which are putting costs/overheads up unnecessarily and at the end paid by customers.”

“It speeded the transition to online financial services.”

A fascinating insight from several respondents revolved around the fact that they believe COVID provided the perfect opportunity to expedite the end of cash. More and more people have moved to digital banking. Without the need for brick and mortar bank branches, this has paved the way for neo-banks and fintechs to make significant inroads into more mainstream adoption, including demographics other than just millennials. 

(By the way, if you haven’t already watched it, in episode 9 of our Sight Series, we discuss A Cashless Society and how COVID has been used to accelerate moving away from cash while highlighting valid concerns and presenting solutions to this inevitable evolution.) 

 

2. Revealing a Broken, Manipulated Traditional Financial System


“It's made me much more aware of my finances, and of the fragility of the system against external circumstances like a pandemic.” 

“I already knew, I think. But all this made me realize even more how dependent on the system we are and how it is designed to crush.”

“Yes, I believe we are at boiling point in traditional finance/ FIAT monetary policies.....A ticking time bomb waiting to implode.” 

“Yes, it has exposed the economical vulnerability even more than was already obvious. Also the market manipulation has been clearly exposed.”

“Not so much during, but will pay for it later literally with the amount of fake fiat money pumped into the economy.”

A more profound concern echoed by many was the fragility of the traditional financial system, with evident manipulation at play. Trust in monetary policy is low. People are waking up to the long-term repercussions of low-interest rates and quantitative easing (the ‘printing’ of new money to sustain the economy).

While the ‘powers that be’ would like us to see these measures as them providing us with a buffer against economic instability, the reality is that it’s simply a means to prop up a crumbling system, kicking the problem further down the road for the next administration and generation to deal with, all the while driving up inflation and essentially eroding the value of any money we can earn or save.

 

What we need now is sound money. Money that’s not valued by a government’s promise. Money that can’t simply be created from thin air. Money uncoupled from political influence. 

 

3. Rethinking Income, Investments and Savings 


“Yes. I realise that I need to have multiple streams of income.”

“Setting up multiple investments/income.” 

“Yes. 1) Reduced spend, so more savings, and hence increased passion for investing (was already participating in crowdfunding, now ventured into stock markets and crypto) 2.) Economic situation has made me think about a better safety net 3) Seeing impact of Covid-19 on stock markets is teaching me to look for opportunities when it all looks like its crashing down!”

“I actually think the Pandemic has given us some great investing opportunities.”

“More focused on investing rather than saving.”

“Interested in investing, would like to see other products available.”

“Yes. Feel I need to invest better to be more secure and get involved in future technology.”

The financial impact of COVID has made many people re-examine their income, and reconsider their investments and savings strategies

Most sole traders and private businesses - deemed non-essential services - were required to close their doors for months at a time. This left both them and their employees with little to no income to make ends meet. 

Business owners had to dip into life savings, or borrow from wherever they could, to pay their overheads, while no trade was allowed. Sadly, the extended lockdowns left many financially crippled and forced to close their businesses permanently. 

Many have looked to creative means to increase or diversify their income streams, turning to side-hustles - most especially those that can be delivered online or with social distancing in place - in an attempt to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. 

For others, the COVID pandemic’s impact on the financial markets offered an opportunity to reevaluate the types of products, services or businesses they were investing in. Some of our respondents specifically noted how looking at alternatives to traditional markets and investing in cryptocurrency was high on their priorities.     

 

4. The Importance of Financial Sovereignty 


“As an advocate of pro-sovereignty, I believe every human being on the planet should have the necessity of banking and financial technologies… BITCOIN is the level playing field. And I'm here to play ball.”

“No, it just confirmed the need to be financially free.”

The level of societal control enforced on us throughout this pandemic has made many question the structures and see the global pyramid of power in full force at all levels. Under this control, financial sovereignty is extremely difficult to achieve, and yet it’s become so obviously apparent of its importance. 

Financial sovereignty is a concept that was core to the formation of Bitstocks back in 2014 and remains the driving force behind our development of the Gravity ecosystem. 

Read more about Sovereignty: Gravity’s Grandest Goal

 

5. More Conscious Spending 


“Trying to support new more enlightened organizations. I have always been fairly ethical but the pandemic is making huge corporations like Amazon and Big Banks richer and destroying small and family-run businesses.”

While admittedly, this was only mentioned by one respondent in the survey, it’s a trend we’ve seen developing - and one we fully support - so we thought it was worth a mention. 

Throughout the pandemic, larger chains have been allowed to operate relatively freely, while ‘local’ businesses have borne the brunt of enforced closures. For many, they simply don’t have the capital means to keep up with overheads without trade, leaving a swathe of families in serious financial (and emotional) distress. 

Through more conscious spending, we’re able to support our local, small businesses trying to make a living through an incredibly difficult time, as opposed to blindly handing our money over to the huge corporations, who ultimately don’t need it to survive this pandemic with open doors. 

 

Has Your Relationship with Money Changed as a Result of COVID19? 

We’d love to open this conversation further. Did you find yourself agreeing with any of the above? Or has nothing changed for you at all? Tweet us @bitstocks_ and let us know your thoughts. 

 

New call-to-action

You may also be interested in