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Study: 63% of Americans Would Be Unable to Handle Unexpected Expense

According to a new study by Bankrate.com, over half of Americans cannot financially handle a bill of $500 or more. 63 percent said they would be unable to handle an unexpected expense.

Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, stated, “The survey shows that a very significant minority of American households apparently don’t have the resources to pay for an unexpected expense of around $1,000.” Bankrate.com senior investing analyst Sheyna Steiner added, “These things do happen, and if you don’t have the financial resources to handle it, it can be catastrophic if you are living on the edge.”

Over 35 percent of respondents stated that an unexpected expense would cause them to dip into their savings; 15 percent said they would use a credit card or ask family members for help. 58 percent said they would eschew eating out; 46 percent said they would stop using cable and satellite TV.

Real median household income has plummeted from $57,843 in 1999 to a current $54,000.

In January 2015, Marketwatch reported, “Americans are still 40% poorer today than they were in 2007, the year before the global financial crisis,” adding, “The net worth of American families — the difference between the values of their assets, including homes and investments, and liabilities — fell to $81,400 in 2013, down slightly from $82,300 in 2010, but a long way off the $135,700 in 2007.”

Only two weeks ago, Marketwatch reported, “Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account, according to a new survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted this month by Google Consumer Survey for personal finance website GOBankingRates.com.”

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