eCompareMo Survey: Only 25% Of Filipinos Have Enough Funds To Survive More Than A Month Under Lockdown

Just how financially prepared are Filipinos to survive the COVID-19 pandemic?

Amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed by the Philippine government on March 16, 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Filipinos are somewhat confident with their finances but admit they lack the emergency funds needed to survive if the crisis persists for an extended period of time.

According to the “COVID-19 Financial Readiness Survey” we conducted last March, 25 percent of Filipinos do not have an emergency fund that will last more than a month.

The survey, which we ran online a few days after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, focused on the financial preparedness of Filipinos affected by the lockdown due to COVID-19. The survey had a total of 1,076 respondents.

Out of the 735 respondents who admitted they don’t have an emergency fund that’s separate from their savings, one-third of them fall under the P20,000 and below income bracket. As the salary bracket goes up, the number of people who don’t have an emergency fund decreases.

Meanwhile, those who revealed that they have an emergency fund on standby during COVID-19 are more than just well prepared: Of the 291 respondents in this category, almost 40 percent of them have an amount that can cover expenses for three months and more. It is then followed by those that can last 1 to 2 months (32%); 2 to 3 months (18%); and less than one month (17%).

This means that if the lockdown enacted by the government will extend by more than a month, only 25 percent of people with emergency funds have the means to pay for their basic necessities, with the number sharply declining as the quarantine period prolongs.

A more thorough examination of the data reveals that women are slightly more prepared than men for emergencies. Out of the 291 respondents who have an emergency fund, 57 percent of them are women. Women aged 35 and below take up majority of the said group of participants, with 97 respondents identifying themselves between the ages 21 and 35.

See the infographic below:

On job security and other things

With the enhanced community quarantine forcing industries to adopt a work-from-home setup, the overall sentiment of the respondents towards job security is fairly above average. On a scale of 1 to 5, with the highest number showing highest confidence towards job security, the respondents have an average score of 3.18.

Despite a more positive outlook on job security, overall financial confidence during COVID-19 appears to be more lukewarm. When asked on a scale of 1 to 10 on their overall level of confidence during the pandemic, the average score is 5.37, which is close to the center of the bracket.

Here are other takeaways from our “COVID-19 Financial Readiness Survey” report:

  • Respondents somehow consider getting any form of loan to supplement their finances during enhanced community quarantine (2.86 average score on a 1-to-5 scale).
  • More than 55 percent of participants who said they have health insurance revealed that they do not know if their current insurance company covers COVID-19 cases.
  • Fear for job security due to COVID-19 is high among those who earn P20,000 and below.
  • Meanwhile, those who express highest confidence with their job security are almost evenly scattered across all income brackets. Both respondent groups who answered the lowest and highest monthly income fared the highest participants (both 33 respondents) out of 169 who feel most confident about their employment status.
  • Participants who are self-employed also fare better than average in terms of security of their ventures. However, more than half of participants under this employment type group have no emergency funds (53 percent out of 92 self-employed respondents) and only 48 of them have health insurance coverage.
  • Financial readiness is also high among the younger demographic. Sixty percent who said yes to having an emergency fund have a better outlook on their job security amid COVID-19—and have an overall positive rating towards their finances during the pandemic—are aged 35 and below.

We’re in this together

Although some of us are totally unprepared for the financial consequences of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean we should start beating ourselves up for not being savvier with our finances. There is a time for action and a time for reflection—and if we want to survive this, we should focus more on what we can do.

Now that we’re in the middle of dealing with the virus, how can we take make sure that we can efficiently use our resources during COVID-19 pandemic? Here are some tips you can do to stretch your budget in this time of crisis.

  • Those who were laid off or were forced to go on leave may apply for the unemployment benefit package offered by the SSS with these steps. The online application platform will be launched soon.
  • DOLE will also provide P5,000 to P8,000 monetary assistance to all affected employees through their payroll accounts. Get the details here.
  • Meanwhile, Pag-IBIG Fund allows online application for their calamity assitance fund. You will find more details by clicking here.
  • If you’re unemployed due to COVID-19, don’t lose hope. You still have options to help you get through this crisis. We have a detailed plan on how to make your finances work.
  • Worried that your health concerns won’t be attended by doctors due to rising COVID-19 cases? The DOH released a list of numbers you can call for free teleconlsultation.
  • In case you contract the virus, PhilHealth already has prepared a COVID-19 package for their members.
  • Take note of the following banks and other billers who show solidarity with their clients during a crisis by giving them payment holidays. You might be one of their clients eligible!
  • Supplement your income while working from home with these side gigs you can do during quarantine period.