Millions of Americans are in ‘survival mode’ — beware, decisions made in this frame of mind can make or break you – MarketWatch

Surveys are always suspicious in my opinion … even though I rely on them from time to time. 😎.

In this case with the added stress and risk of the pandemic, thinking short-term is understandable. What you have routinely done is not available, the news good and bad seems to change hourly, planning for that next vacation is so questionable, it’s no fun.

Humans tend to think in the short term most of the time, 2020 is making it worse.

More than one-third, 38%, of people say they’ll be in “survival mode” in 2021, according to Fidelity Investments’ annual New Year Financial Resolutions Study released Tuesday. Survival mode entails being focused “on the day-to-day as I try to get myself and/or my family through the next year,” the poll of more than 3,000 people said.

The older the participant, the more likely they feel this way: 43% of baby boomers (age 56-74) said they will enter 2021 in survival mode, while 34% of millennial-age participants (age 24-39) said the same. “Unfortunately, our ability to see the big picture is severely limited when we’re in fight-or-flight mode,” said Andy Baxley, a Chicago-based financial planner at The Planning Center. “This can lead to choices that seem to make sense in the heat of the moment, but have the potential to cause significant harm in the long run,” he added.

Getting out of “survival mode” starts with trying to envision what your life will look like a year from now, and asking what changes need to happen to feel more secure, Baxley said. “Next, I encourage people to think of one thing that is relatively easy to accomplish and will have a meaningful impact in moving them forward in the right direction. Sometimes, one small step is all it takes to start building momentum,” he said.

Source: Millions of Americans are in ‘survival mode’ — beware, decisions made in this frame of mind can make or break you – MarketWatch


  1. I just do not get it. No one today, remembers the story of ” Chicken Little?” That is what we have today, in the media, government, and healthcare, too many “Chicken Littles” run amuck. Since Jan 1, 2020, 2,689,743 have died from all causes, in the USA. Just 10.9 percent where people with Covid. The majority of these with Covid deaths were people with health issues already, and may not of lived much longer anyway. What about the other 89 percent who died, their deaths were just as much of a loss to their family and friends. And we as a nation are supposed to be freaking out, and wreck our economy, in the process. Being retired I have not change my life one bit, except for wearing a mask when indoor shopping and social distancing. My wife and I, both 65 left Montana on Sept. 2, 2020 and travelled thru ID WA OR CA AZ NM OK TX LA MS AL to arrive at my daughter’s, in GA, to stay the winter, on Nov 2, 2020. We purchased food at several drive thru restaurants, did outdoor dining in CA, shopped at Walmarts and Sam’s clubs, stayed at motels and visited over 40 friends and family along the way. None of the 40+ people we visited with, have become sick, that includes people from age 5 to 96. I for one am not going to let some government official, tell me how to live my life, never have and I never will. I suggest we stand up to governors who close down dining in the state of NY, CA and other states, when it accounts for less than 2% of the new cases. Most of the new cases are happening at home, where a person who has become infected, takes it back home to loved ones. We are living in 2020 Crazy Covid Land, that is for sure, but, we do not have to let it drive us crazy and control our lives. Remember, we are all one day closer to death, each and every day we wake up, and every day above ground is a good day, at least that is how I look at it


    1. ” I for one am not going to let some government official, tell me how to live my life, never have and I never will.”
      Bully for you. We should all insist on your right to infect others. That”s true freedom.

      ” I suggest we stand up to governors who close down dining in the state of NY, CA and other states, when it accounts for less than 2% of the new cases. Most of the new cases are happening at home,”

      Has it occurred to you to wonder why most new cases are happening at home? Perhaps it’s because the measures to control public behavior that you hold in such scorn have actually worked.


      1. Greglee – You sure have drank the cool-aid. If you read my post, I have not infected anyone, I have not been infected. But you do not see what is right before your eyes, 95 percent of people infected are getting over it. Only people with health issues are having a bad time with this. I am not concerned with your opinion, as to what my rights are or what I should do, just because you want me to. There are plenty of false positive tests. And I do believe that people still have rights granted by our U.S. Constitution, no matter what anyone says. I did not serve for 20 years in the USAF, to let some government official, take those rights away. So stop pettifogging the issue with – “Bully for you. We should all insist on your right to infect others. That”s true freedom.”


      2. “And I do believe that people still have rights granted by our U.S. Constitution, no matter what anyone says.”

        Wat specific section of the U.S. Constitution are you referring to? The Right to Dine Out?


      3. The right to own and operate a business without government interference. The governor of CA closed restaurants to outside dining, when right across the street Sams’ Club is allowed to serve prepared food inside and sell it to their customers. I guess The big box stores are immune to the virus.
        I would agree with these edits on high, that are not law, if they were for all businesses, and proved that they were helping stop the spread. but they are not. I have not been in a store in over a month, I order on line and have it delivered or pick it up at the store, where a masked employee brings the items ordered out to my car, but I have been doing that for 2 years. If we really wanted to stop the spread we would quarantine the sick in facilities where they could not infect, others. But, that would not fit the elite politicians, who never follow their own restrictions, agenda. Others who have commented on this blog, are right, the effects of the unscientific lockdowns on small business, will be felt for years. And we will all have a lower standard of living because of it.


      4. “The right to own and operate a business without government interference.”

        That is not in the U.S. Constitution.


      5. Greglee – Fourth Amendment
        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

        By not allowing a business to operate the government is basically seizing that business. While letting other businesses continue to operate. I thought we had equal protection under the law. But, I guess some businesses are more equal than others. It seems to me it is, more risky to go shopping at Walmart, because of the number of people you can come into contact with, but common sense has been thrown out in 2020 Crazy Covid Land.


  2. One of my favorite parts of a pre-retirement planning seminar I used to lead was an old film, titled “A Week Full of Saturdays”. It offered three vignettes of life in retirement – one about a life full of leisure after 50 years of employment, one about relocation to a retirement community, and remaining in NYC to leverage the conveniences while working part time. That was retirement as a minority of the “greatest generation” knew it – not the retirement you and I will someday experience. One great quip came from a guy who worked all his life in corporate America. In response to a question about what if anything surprised him about retirement, he responded: “Well, after a couple of years, I went back to the office, and it was still there, that was a surprise.”
    But, the best part of the film was the advice given by a 64 year old black NYC METRO train conductor: “You gotta plan to live because death will take care of itself.”

    Yes, five decades ago, I remember living with wages in the lowest quintile, with bills that I could not fully pay each month. I had flunked out of college, forfeiting the scholarship I had won. After a couple of years “wearing the green”, I went back to school, at night, working full time while going to classes full time at night (today, that would be online). I remember the Dear Abby or Ann Landers column that responded to an individual who was 32 when she decided to go back to school, who complained “it will take me 8 years to finish my degree and I will be 40 years old!” Abby/Ann responded: How old will you be in 8 years if you don’t go back to school?

    My suggestions and opinions are always take or leave. They may or may not fit in your life or that of the ones you love. But decades repleat with failures have taught me – don’t make resolutions. Don’t wait for 1/1. Take action now, today!

    Ten or so years ago, when my employment became unsatisfactory, and untenable, I decided to give up my lucrative employment (wages and benefits) and went back to school at age 59 – including a 750+ mile round trip weekly commute to attend some classes in person that I could not get online. People thought I was nuts – leaving in the middle of the Great Recession. I concurrently took new employment that paid only about 1/3 of my prior gig – but offered the flexibility I needed to attend classes. I didn’t graduate until after turning age 60.

    It wasn’t about increasing wages and benefits. And, it wasn’t about re-inventing myself – I’m still working in the field of employee benefits. In fact, my wages continue to decline (perhaps a smidge of age discrimination?) as I am now earning 1/6th of what I earned in 2008 – with worse benefits.

    Even today, while mindful of the crazy covid, I still think about and plan for what’s next, what’s beyond the horizon … beyond 2021. I’m not ignoring 2021 – you shouldn’t either! But I am taking action now, in 2020, making applications, volunteering, taking classes … with an eye on the future, the holidays, the next few months, 2021 and beyond.

    Plan to live because death will take care of itself. You should be planning, too!

    Best to you. Be careful, stay safe, enjoy what’s available, possible. And, may you prosper, in every way, in the remainder of 2020, in 2021 and the years to come.


    1. I love that line, “plan to live because death will take care of itself”. That could be a whole separate website from the financial planning part of retirement. It does not take a lot of money to do something several times a week.

      I was warned that many people in retirement get depressed from losing relationships with co-workers and not being able to do the things that they thought they were going to do. You have to have a plan. Just yesterday my wife decided that due to covid, she can no longer just sit around the house in her pajamas. It is just too depressing. I have been getting up and showering and shaving for the last three years now in retirement. Why, because I got living to do even if shaving is the only thing I do today. My wife was mad that covid has stop us from traveling until I pointed out that we drove over 7,000 miles and visited 18 states and spent 33 days on the road. Our fall trip was postponed twice until all the stars aligned with the restrictions but we got it done. Had to bypass somethings due to restrictions but it was still a successful trip.

      2021 trip planning is almost done, we are just waiting to the right window to start. The advantage now is that you don’t have to worry about a hotel being full and can book last minute and due to covid most are flexible with the reservations or be willing to pay a slight higher rate to cancel last minute without being charged anything. You may be stuck eating take out food too but that’s ok. We will hold off on cruises and flying for a while. You don’t have to live in fear, just be careful. Retirement is not sitting around waiting to die, it time to live.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I suspect things will get worse. In order to trying to envision what your life will look like a year from now, one has to have an ideal when all this covid stuff will end or at least stabilize. The way various state governors threaten their state’s population with new restrictions, it is hard to see what the new normal will be. Nobody really plans for an emergency fund to last a year so we are past the point of no return for many people. The hospitality industry must be hit the worse. False re-starts, limiting seating, out right repeated closures has got to be taking a toll. My son-in-law works as a dealer in a casino. First they were totally shut down for 4 months. They re-opened and then closed their poker rooms and he was laid off. After two months he gets hired at another casino for a month and they were shut down by his state. It is tuff to plan ahead or pay your bills when you are not working, have no idea what your state will do, nor what executive order Biden will issue next month. I think the scars of this pandemic will not totally show themselves until the courts are fully reopen and the foreclosures start. The pain will drag on for years.

    Liked by 1 person

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