4 financial norms COVID killed


When looking back on 2020 from the fresh perspective of 2021, it’s profound how many variables have evolved and changed to suit the current pandemic. There’s not one person, business or industry that hasn’t been affected by the virus, and therefore a global shift in both work and leisure has occurred, changing many of the financial norms we’ve grown up with or have been used to for decades.

  1. Meeting online

COVID-19 had a huge impact on employees, with the introduction of social distancing, coming into work via public transport to interact in a collaborative office was no longer considered safe. Zoom meetings in pyjamas became the norm with many adapting to working from home: a surreal experience for millions of Australians this year. Whilst this has put pressure on boundaries and a healthy work-life balance, it’s also minimised costs for businesses and proved to employers that employees can be trusted to work and be productive off-site.

It’s difficult to predict now, but there’s potential that this shift will continue after the virus has moved on, in an attempt to cut company costs or allow increased employee flexibility.

  1. Cash

ATM withdrawals are down, falling by 60% in the UK, while similarly in the United States of America, the use of contactless payment has risen by 150% since March 2019. Japan already had a pre-COVID target to live 80% cashless, yet their non-cash payments have also surged. In South Korea, 96% of transactions are cashless and in China this is at 66%.

In Australia, we’ve observed a resurgence of credit and debit card payments, explained by both the easing of restrictions and reopening of business, and the reduction in the use of cash. John Harries, Westpac’s chief product officer for consumer, believes there will be an even further decline in the use of cash in the future.

With many cafes and retail stores now consistently rejecting cash payments, we’re both running out of things to do with all of our loose change and adapting to purely using our cards and smartphones to fix up the bill.

Much discussion around a cashless society suggests that there might be a boom for cryptocurrencies, an increase in RFID wireless paying systems such as Apple Pay and far more online shopping with contactless deliveries.

  1. Living payslip to payslip with no emergency fund

Gone are the days where you could live payslip to payslip, with COVID-19 proving that even when you have a reliable, full-time income and job, the unexpected can still arise and you must be prepared. Many families are now creating budgets for spending, changing how much and how often they save their hard earned dollars and planning how they can save for future financial unpredicted events with a substantial emergency fund.

50% of Australians predict that over the next two years the financial impacts of coronavirus will continue to affect their personal finances, resulting in a shift in mindset of daily spending and saving techniques.

  1. Hustle/grind culture

We all know someone who works around the clock and burns out every single weekend. They say things like “you snooze, you lose” and “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” whilst religiously sacrificing any leisure time or sleep to the office that they refer to as ‘the grind.’

The coronavirus pandemic forced much of society to quarantine and self-isolate, with a vast amount of the economy shutting either temporarily or permanently, creating an abrupt, unrecognisable break for many of those that participate in the go-go-go hustle culture. Those that glorify endlessly working hard as their lifestyle have had to revaluate their values and find fulfillment in other areas and may come out of COVID19 with a much more balanced approach.



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