How the Pandemic Is Affecting Our Finances and Ability to Plan for the Future

Wayne State University business professor Matthew Roling gives some tips on how to manage your money during an economic crisis.

A hand pulls a $20 bill out of a wallet

We’re living through one of the worst economic crises America has ever experienced.

“This is becoming a tale of two economies.” – Matthew Roling, Wayne State University.

Roughly 55 million people have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March. More than 70,000 small businesses have closed forever. The Aspen Institute estimates one in five renters are at risk of being evicted by the end of this month.

With all of the uncertainty and upheaval in our economy and the world more generally, what kinds of decisions should we be making with our own money? What does all of this mean for our ability to plan for the future — or even just get through the day?


Listen: Wayne State University business professor Matthew Roling talks about how the pandemic is affecting personal finance


Matthew Roling is the executive director of Wayne State University’s office of business innovation and teaches personal finance at Wayne State’s business school. He says many Americans are looking for ways to make sure they have cash available to them, instead of being tied up in assets.

“Cash is king in a way that it really never has been before because we really don’t know what’s around the corner,” says Roling. “We’re just starting to measure the impact that this has had on the long term [health] of the US economy.”

He also notes that while many working-class and low-income people are being hit especially hard during the pandemic, wealthier people are taking advantage of new opportunities to make more money.

“This is becoming a tale of two economies,” he says.

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