Living paycheck to paycheck

Study: Nearly half of households in U.S. lack savings for emergencies

Los Angeles TimesFebruary 3, 2013 

— Nearly 44 percent of American households are one emergency away from financial ruin.

That means they don’t have enough savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if something unforeseen happens such as losing a job or falling sick, according to a recent study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Almost a third of Americans have no savings account at all.

“These families have had to prioritize today’s expenses over tomorrow’s goals,” said Andrea Levere, the group’s president.

Many people living precariously have jobs. About 75 percent are working full time, and more than 15 percent are earning middle-class incomes of more than $55,000 a year, according to the report.

But despite steady jobs, many of those surveyed are surviving paycheck to paycheck, trying to cope with the recession’s aftermath; one emergency could tip them over “the edge of financial disaster.”

Possible reasons for their lack of savings? Experts say many factors could be at play, including stagnating wages, rising prices and high credit card debt.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service