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Americans living paycheck to paycheck: statistics

It’s no surprise that many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, but how bad is the problem in this down economy?



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living paycheck to paycheck

Americans living paycheck to paycheck

It may not surprise you that nearly half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, especially since the economy took a dive. And you might be numbered among them. If not, there’s no doubt that you know many people who have to live that way. NetCredit surveyed 1,000 Americans over the age of eighteen about their finances and debts. Here are some of the findings:

Staying on top of monthly bills can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially if you count down the days until the next paycheck while you’re praying an unexpected expense won’t show itself. If this describes you, then you’re not alone. 24% of Americans have the one goal of simply getting their bills paid. That means they’re not putting any money into savings or saving up for a family vacation. They are simply trying to survive. Fully 6% of those surveyed are mostly worried about paying their mortgage or rent and 14% are just trying to avoid any more debt.

Out of those polled, if met with an unexpected payment or if they didn’t have enough money to make it to their next paycheck, 61% would immediately pull what was left of their savings, 23% would put it all on a credit card, 16% would borrow from close family members or friends, and 7% would start to sell or pawn their possessions. At the bottom of the list, and with the lowest percentages, are cash advances and bank loans. The FDIC recently published a study that estimated that nearly half of Americans could not come up with an extra $2,000 in thirty days for an emergency. And, quite frankly, that’s terrifying.

NetCredit’s survey respondents came from a variety of backgrounds, which helped them to estimate the demographics that are more prone to financial struggles. NetCredit concluded that 62% of Americans in their 30s live paycheck to paycheck and also those with children, which equals 57%. It may not be surprising to you that those living in the South are more susceptible to financial issues than those that live in the Northeastern United States, with respective percentages of 53% and 41%.

These percentages are humbling. With nearly half of Americans struggling to make ends meet, it’s more important than ever to make smart financial decisions and save when you can. And perhaps that’s one reason small businesses are popping up all over the country, as Americans are trying to get out from under someone else’s thumb and be their own bosses.

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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  1. Tinu

    December 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I’m not technically living paycheck to paycheck, but I do know that one rocky medical problem can throw me off for a Year. Doesn’t even have to involve hospitalization.

    But these stats are Astonishing to me. If four adult Americans friends are sitting in a room, the odds that at least one of us is that close to the brink is sobering.

  2. Fredh

    August 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    The American dream use to be owning a home, in the last 35 years that dream became the automobile . In 1970 the average own one vehicle, there were only 52 million registered vehicles, only 49 percent married families. Today with a divorce rate of over 60 percent, and 8o percent of all mothers in the workforce. These mothers have their own money, and buy most of all brand new vehicles. Mothers started staying in the workforce in 1972, and inflation rate has been 15 percent. Now with mothers in the workforce, no one is home rearing children, her career was more important then being a mother. The price of a home, vehicle, and gasoline have skyrocketed. The same year the feds started pushing affirmative action and quotas, men and father were force to compete with a mother for a job. this Country has been going down the tubes since then. I hope our new President can reverse these this stupided.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



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Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



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Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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