On The Edge Of Disaster: 59 Percent Of Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Living on the edge, being dragged down by debt, and having little hope for the future is no way to live.  But that is precisely where most Americans find themselves in 2019.  Despite a supposedly “booming economy”, the middle class continues to shrink and most of the country is barely scraping by from month to month.  In fact, a brand new survey that was just released by Charles Schwab discovered that 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck


Overall, 59 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to the survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by Charles Schwab.

However, the Millennial generation (people ages 23-38) was the most likely to struggle in between payday, at 62 percent, followed by Generation X (60 percent), Generation Z (55 percent) and Baby Boomers (53 percent).

I realize that those numbers look really high, but this is really where we are at as a society.

In fact, a study that was just conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago found that 51 percent of all “working adults” would not be able to cover basic necessities “if they missed more than one paycheck”

Missing more than one paycheck is a one-way ticket to financial hardship for nearly half of the country’s workforce.

A new study from NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, found that 51% of working adults in the United States would need to access savings to cover necessities if they missed more than one paycheck.

So when the next recession strikes, millions of Americans that suddenly lose their jobs could find themselves facing financial disaster almost immediately.

The survey that was just released by Charles Schwab found that there are a lot of reasons why Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and “rising college debt” is one of them

‘Spending is certainly one factor,’ said Terri Kallsen, executive vice president for Schwab Investor Services.

‘But especially for younger Americans, we know there are factors beyond their control that make it difficult to save, including rising college debt, stagnant wages and the high cost of living, particularly in urban centers,’ she told DailyMail.com.

Today, Americans owe more than 1.5 trillion dollars on their student loans, and it is a bubble that keeps getting worse with each passing year.  The following numbers about our growing student loan debt crisis come from CBS News

Currently, 43 million Americans have student debt. The average household with student debt owes almost $48,000 and 5.2 million borrowers are in default.

Meanwhile, college costs keep rising. At Ohio State, a public university, in-state students pay $27,000 a year. Stanford University costs $74,000.

Personally, I don’t know why anyone would ever pay $74,000 a year to go to Stanford.

And as far as Ohio State and other public universities are concerned, the truth is that you can get a better education from the Internet without too much effort.  I spent eight years studying at public universities, and the quality of education is a joke.

But we fill the heads of our high school students with all of this nonsense about how college “is the key to a bright future”, and we encourage them to not even worry about how much it will cost.

So they pile up enormous loans, and many of them don’t even realize that they are destroying their financial futures until it is too late.

When 25-year-old Taylor Smith first discovered how high her student loan balance had gotten, she immediately had a panic attack

To pay for her education at Texas A&M University, Smith worked full-time throughout college. She also cobbled together 11 student loans.

“I probably graduated with about $53,000 in student debt,” Smith said. “That number hit me for the first time my last semester of college. And it was the first time I saw the full balance. And I had a panic attack immediately.”

Our system of higher education is deeply broken, and radical change is desperately needed.

Another reason why Americans are living paycheck to paycheck is because of social media envy.  The following comes from USA Today

Call it keeping up with Instagram.

Thirty-five percent of Americans admit they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford after seeing images of their friends’ lives on sites like Facebook and Instagram, according to Schwab’s 2019 modern wealth survey. The FOMO effect is most dramatic for young adults. About half of millennials and 44% of Generation Z (those born approximately between 1995 to 2015) acknowledge their spending habits are at least partly shaped by social media.

Once upon a time, Americans were concerned about keeping up with the neighbors, but these days social media is where everybody shows off.

And this is particularly true when it comes to Instagram.  As far as I can tell, Instagram is the perfect social media platform for narcissists.  Everyone is constantly posting photos that show how attractive, wealthy and adventurous they are, and those with the most followers tend to be ultra-attractive, ultra-wealthy and/or ultra-adventurous.

But for most of us, life is not a constant stream of Instagramable moments.  Instead, life is about doing the laundry, trying to save some money on the groceries and scooping poop out of the cat litter.

If you try to keep up with the fantasies that you see on Instagram, the truth is that you will go broke really quick.

And study after study has found that is precisely where about half the country currently is

A study from home repair service HomeServe USA found that roughly 50% of consumers either have nothing set aside to cover an emergency or less than $500 put away. And research from the Federal Reserve has indicated that roughly 4 in 10 Americans couldn’t afford a $400 emergency.

One of the things that I always stress with my readers is that if you ever want to make financial progress in life, you have got to start building wealth.

If your paycheck goes up, that doesn’t mean that you should start spending more money.  Instead, you should look at it as an opportunity to start saving more money.

But for most Americans, the future is now, and that means that most of them will ultimately end up facing financial disaster down the road.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.