Means

I read this yesterday:

No matter how much you earn, getting by is still a struggle for most people these days.

Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year, according to a recent report from CareerBuilder.

Overall, 71 percent of all U.S. workers said they’re now in debt, up from 68 percent a year ago, CareerBuilder said.

While 46 percent said their debt is manageable, 56 percent said they were in over their heads. About 56 percent also save $100 or less each month, according to CareerBuilder. The job-hunting site polled over 2,000 hiring and human resource managers and more than 3,000 full-time employees between May and June.

Most financial experts recommend stashing at least a six-month cushion in an emergency fund to cover anything from a dental bill to a car repair — and more if you are the sole breadwinner in your family or in business for yourself.

While household income has grown over the past decade, it has failed to keep up with the increased cost-of-living over the same period.

Even those making over six figures said they struggle to make ends meet, the report said. Nearly 1 in 10 of those making $100,000 or more said they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, and 59 percent of those in that salary range said they were in the red.

There’s a lot I could say about this, but I’m just going to leave it there.

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18 comments on “Means

  1. It always seems the more you make, the more you spend. Apparently that applies to (most people):

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  2. Scott says:

    “cost of living”
    “struggle”
    A truly huge amount of happiness and freedom can be had by exploring how little actually needs to be purchased. You want to have a happy marriage, lower your blood pressure, and sleep better? Try not buying crap and put 3-6 months of expenses in the bank.
    If you’re not going to say it, Bill, I will. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie Graves says:

    It is true that some affluent people are not good at budgeting, but it is also true that many people legitimately struggle, especially when you consider the skyrocketing costs of college tuition, housing prices, health care (I know someone who lost her home because she had to choose between paying for medicine and paying for her mortgage), and other necessities. Add the Great Recession with its mass layoffs, and you really do have true misery for many folks. For lots of people, it’s not all spend, spend, spend on frivolous things. Some of us truly do scrape to get by.

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    • Bill says:

      Yes of course. But in this piece, those who are struggling through no fault of their own are lumped in with those who are financially reckless. All are captured under the umbrella “No matter how much you earn, getting by is a struggle for most people these days.” And this data doesn’t include people who are unemployed or working part time jobs. According to it, nearly 80% of people working full time jobs live paycheck to paycheck, as do nearly 10% of those making over 100k/year (60% of whom have a negative net worth).

      I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’ve been VERY poor and I’ve lived in a high-income world. I’ve known people with very little income (especially if they were old enough to remember the Great Depression) who lived happy, contented lives on little money and were never in debt. I’ve also known people with extraordinarily high incomes who lived from paycheck to paycheck, deeply in debt. I had a friend who was earning nearly $700,000/year and whose wife told me that if they missed one monthly paycheck they’d have to declare bankruptcy. I knew people who earned a lot more than that who DID declare bankruptcy.

      I’d prefer that stories like this try to make some distinction between those caught in the kinds of trouble you mention, and those who are foolishly running up debt and failing to save even while employed full-time and in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom. Circumstances are no doubt forcing some people to have to borrow more now, but surely not 8 out of 10 of us. Another bust is guaranteed, and it looks like most people are in no position to ride it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. avwalters says:

    Time or Money, the choice is yours. If you choose money, you have no time to do the myriad little things necessary–so you have to pay others. If you choose time, you have to spend those minutes with one eye on your wallet.

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  5. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, I’ve traveled both roads of financial situations. Even though today is much better than years ago, I’m still in debt and probably will be until the end of life. Situations along the path of life has seen to keep me there so I’m quite content to have enough money for a place to live, to be able to keep the lights on, and plenty of food to eat. Oh, and enough left over to help those in the family that need help. I haven’t balanced a check book for over a decade and only scan the account each month to check to see if things are still good. Being in retirement and getting paid once a month takes some getting used to but is great once the schedule has been worked out.

    I can definitely identify with those that have situations that are out their control such as medical financial burdens. I can also identify with those that have out of control spending issues to deal with. When I started out in life, the lending institutions almost required a person to prove they didn’t need the money to get a loan. My how things have changed. Only the very privileged were able to have a credit card.

    Some times just being content with getting to the next pay period without acquiring any more debt has to be good enough.

    Have a great day in the garden.

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    • Bill says:

      Well said Dave.

      Like you, I’m old enough to remember when credit cards were invented. They were status symbols and only available to those who were actually creditworthy. Times have changed.

      Remember Christmas Clubs and layaway? If you didn’t have the money for something you didn’t borrow the money, you paid a little at a time as you could afford and you got the item when it was paid for. I highly doubt those kinds of things even exist any more.

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      • Melonie K. says:

        I too remember Christmas Club accounts and layaway. We work hard to stay out of debt and are raising the children to (hopefully) do the same. Ohhh, the rant this could set off for me also, particularly about lumping everyone together (those who are in true need vs those whose debts are on McMansions, “toys”, and wants vs needs).

        I’m not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but layaway is making a comeback on military bases, through the AAFES stores (base stores similar to say, a small Walmart). AAFES has their own credit card, which they push heavily – apparently not enough people are taking the card now, or perhaps too many people have them and are maxed out. Over the past few weeks I’ve begun seeing ads about “FEE FREE LAYAWAY!” *sigh* I suppose it is a good thing, in that the layaway users aren’t accruing high interest rates and debts they will take years to pay off (probably longer than their military career in the case of those who don’t plan to reenlist). I find it frustrating on the other hand. Our microwave society wants things now, RIGHT NOW, and credit cards are the way to do it – with our shackles then set firmly in place and the bankers laughing all the way to, well, the bank. Thanks, but no thanks.

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  6. theburningheart says:

    One of my mother’s greatest lessons to me was telling me many times: ‘What you can’t afford, you just do not buy it, and never, ever ask for a loan to get it. Never owe a penny to no one!’

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  7. Dalo 2013 says:

    “Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck”
    This is such a hard fact for me to comprehend at times. A decade plus ago, one of my staff in China (making $500/month) asked me about the wealth of workers in the USA. I asked her, “how much of the $500/month” she saves every month. She replied “between $350 to $400” and my response was the first sentence above. Knowing how to save is such an important gift.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I’ve read that on average Chinese workers, despite very low wages, save between 30-50 percent of their income. With much higher wages, the average American saves less than 4%. A generation ago we had a high savings rate too.

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      • Dalo 2013 says:

        It is automatic to them, but it is also beginning to change… They are making more money ~ but spending a much higher percentage, the same route we’ve taken in the States.

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