Quick Thoughts: Gallup Asks and Consumers Answer—Economic Recovery

Head of Equities, Stephen Dover, and Franklin Templeton Fixed Income CIO, Sonal Desai, examine macrotrends and microdata to watch for signs of recovery.

Stephen H. Dover, CFA

Stephen H. Dover, CFA Head of Equities

Sonal Desai, Ph.D.

Sonal Desai, Ph.D. Chief Investment Officer, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income

Asking new questions, understanding changing economic and political environments, and thinking longer term are all habits successful investors share. Sir John Templeton said it best: “An investor who has all the answers doesn’t even understand all the questions.”1 I recently asked Sonal Desai, CIO of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, to share her insights about US consumers’ attitudes and behaviors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of Sonal’s thoughts on the pandemic and economic recovery:

  • US savings rates have gone up enormously over the course of the pandemic macro data reveals, because people are staying at home, not going out or spending as they did before the pandemic, and incomes have been supported by stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits.

  • People surveyed plan to continue saving for at least another three to six months.2 They are planning to continue to save and they’re not paying down their debts. This will likely help consumer spending down the line.

  • Increased investments in financial assets have not occurred, except largely from higher-income individuals who are less financially impacted by the pandemic.

  • Survey results show a remarkable degree of support for continued US government fiscal assistance to help workers unemployed as a result of the pandemic.3 And, our survey shows that higher unemployment support does not weaken the desire to go back to work; people largely prefer the long-term security and agency of working versus relying on government assistance.


Sonal’s views are strengthened by the recent Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study. Its results reveal more insights and possible tailwinds that may lead to economic recovery. To learn more, watch this video.

ENDNOTES

  1. Source: Sir John Templeton’s “16 Rules for Investment Success.”

  2. Source: Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study. Results from this study are based on self-administered web surveys from an opt-in sample provided by Dynata of 5,000 US adults, aged 18 or older. For details about how Dynata recruits respondents in the United States, please see http://info.dynata.com/rs/105-ZDT-791/images/ Dynata_Panel%20Book_2.19.pdf. The survey was conducted between August 3 and August 11, 2020.

  3. Ibid.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal. Bond prices generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates. Thus, as prices of bonds in an investment portfolio adjust to a rise in interest rates, the value of the portfolio may decline. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions.