According to a nationwide survey
that has just been released by CareerBuilder, 61% of workers always or
usually live paycheck to paycheck. What is more astounding to me is
that the figure was 49% last year and 43% in 2007. That is a
tremendous change in two years. Even 30% of six-figure earners live in
It’s not surprising that more people have been forced to manage in
this fashion given the recent economy, but the magnitude of that change
is significant. Our aggregate savings rate in the US has increased
over the past couple of years. No doubt, interest rate resets on
mortgages and credit cards have played a role.
Regardless of the reasons for this shift, it is important to note
that living without a financial safety net is a pretty dicey way to
manage personal finances. Unemployment is high and may continue to
rise for a little while. Maintaining an emergency fund is critical to
financial well-being, even in prosperous times for the general
economy. For some thoughts on building an emergency fund, review my Keep it simple blog post from February.