SURVEY SAYS: Did Stimulus Payments ‘Stimulate’ the Economy?

In response to the financial implications for Americans of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government issued three rounds of stimulus payments to certain people aimed at helping those who needed help paying their bills and ‘stimulating’ the economy.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Did you receive at least one stimulus payment, and how did you use the money?”

More than half (57%) of responding readers work in a plan sponsor role, 21% work for recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants, 18% are advisers/consultants and 4% are attorneys.

More than six in 10 respondents (61%) said they received at least one stimulus payment.

Among those who received at least one stimulus payment, 47% reported they saved some or all of it, 17% used it to cover bills or essential items for themselves or family member, and 17% splurged on non-essential items. Twelve percent used all or some of the money to pay down credit cards or other debt, 6% gave to a charity or to charities, and 6% made home repairs or improvements.

“Other” uses reported by readers included putting money into children’s college funds, helping people other than family members, and using it for emergency expenses that came up.

Respondents who chose to leave comments mentioned specific items they used the funds for and expressed concern about whether the payments were used as intended and about government spending. No Editor’s Choice this week. A big thank you to all who participated in the survey!


Seemed only fair in the short run, considering the government-mandated closures, and the immediacy of the initial response was critically important. However, by the time the third one came around, money was being sent to folks whose employment hadn’t been impacted, and who thus arguably didn’t need the “free” money from the government (that we’ll be paying for well into the next couple of decades).

Unfortunately, I am not sure they are done with this crazy spending!

I’m not a fan of running up government debt as every bill becomes due eventually, and the only way it’s paid back is by us.

I would have been fine with not receiving one. I think the cutoff threshold was too high.

It wasn’t necessary in our case, but it was nice to know that it was available and that people who needed it were getting it too.

Saved the first two, bought kayaks, home gym equipment, and vacationed with the 3rd. Those are all essential items!

I think the payments only should have been made to those that really needed it; not everyone. I didn’t need the money, and I know a lot of other that didn’t. And I know a lot that did. And unfortunately, some of those that did need the payments chose to use the money on things they didn’t need instead of using it for what they did need. So, I’m not sure the payments served the purpose they were intended.

I was thankful to receive it.

People who did not need the money received it. It would have been a nice vacation fund!

I used the stimulus money to provide transportation to the COVID vaccination site for those who could not afford it.

Both of my kids did receive the payments, and they used the funds to pay down debt or it went into savings. I’m really proud of them for their big picture view of adulting!

I have nothing good to say about stimulus payments.

Stimulus payments made a difference as we’ve been down to one income due to COVID for the past 17 months.

NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.