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Money woes, too many bills: 1 in 2 Americans Indicate They are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

dollars_optAlmost half of Americans (48 percent) indicate they are living paycheck to paycheck today in a new survey by online lender NetCredit.com and 44 percent are simply trying to stay current on bills or home payments and to avoid excessive debt or bankruptcy.

The poll of 1,000 Americans identified population segments where the concern of living paycheck to paycheck runs highest:

62 percent of Americans in their 30s

54 percent among those Americans under the age of 60

57 percent of families with children

64 percent of families with five or more people in the household versus 45 percent for households four and smaller

53 percent of residents in southern states versus 41 percent of those in the Northeast U.S.

“Living paycheck to paycheck puts many Americans dangerously close to their own personal fiscal cliff should they be hit with an emergency expense,” says Stephanie Klein, head of consumer lending at NetCredit.  “An unexpected medical bill, car repair or higher than usual utility bill can easily push them beyond their ability to pay bills on time.”

According to the NetCredit poll, three out of 10 Americans report that their primary financial goal now is simply to stay current on their bills (24 percent) or home payments (six percent) with another 14 percent trying to prevent excessive debt or bankruptcy.

Faced with the need to borrow cash today to meet a financial emergency, Americans indicate they would turn to the following sources (almost 30% would turn to more than one option):

General savings - 61 percent

Credit card - 23 percent

Borrow from family/friends -16 percent

Separate rainy day fund - 15 percent

Pawn or sell items – 7 percent

Bank loan - 5 percent

Short-term cash advances - 4 percent

Installment loans – 2 percent

“But there might not be enough cash there to handle the crisis,” indicates Klein citing a recent FDIC study found nearly half of Americans cannot access $2,000 in 30 days to meet an emergency.  “We established NetCredit this summer to provide more flexible options to Americans needing access to cash, especially in these emergency situations.”

About the Survey

This NetCredit.com survey was conducted online in September 2012 by TNS Omnibus among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans age 18 plus. The margin of error for the national sample is approximately three percent.  Surveys are subject to other error sources as well, including sampling coverage error, recording error, and respondent error.

 
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