Pandemic at 3 Years: How Our Financial Lives Have Changed

Since COVID-19 came into our lives, a lot has changed, including the way we work, travel, save and spend.

Profile photo of Anna Helhoski
Written by Anna Helhoski
Senior Writer
Profile photo of Rick VanderKnyff
Edited by Rick VanderKnyff
Senior Assigning Editor
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, most of us had little clue just how much everything was about to change. 

In early March 2020, the World Health Organization and the U.S. government declared a health emergency. Within days, masks, toilet paper and disinfectants were in short supply. Businesses emptied out as former office dwellers traded in commutes and desk jobs for sweatpants and video conferencing.

Meanwhile, workers in grocery stores, public transit, trucking and janitorial positions found themselves on the “front line” of a war they never volunteered for. Students lost time in school while teachers and parents burned out at home. Those in the medical field faced dwindling supplies, exhaustion, trauma and illness while treating sick patients. 

In the days, months and years since those initial lockdowns, millions of people fell ill with COVID. Most recovered, but Centers for Disease Control data show more than a million and counting lost their lives in the U.S., and almost 7 million globally. With medical interventions and the development of vaccines, we slowly learned to live with the virus, establishing a “new normal.” 

Come May, the White House is expected to end its pandemic emergency. But COVID-19 still lurks in ever-shifting form, and some of the societal changes it spawned are likely here to stay. Here are just some of the ways the pandemic has altered how we work, spend, save, travel and live. 

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