Nearly Half Of America Lives Paycheck-To-Paycheck

Tyler Durden's picture

While stocks are still near record highs and the inventory-stuffed picture of economic growth for the US ticks up to its fastest pace in 2 years, Time reports that a study (below) by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) shows nearly half of Americans are living in a state of “persistent economic insecurity,” that makes it "difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future." In other words, too many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck... but their findings get worse.

As Time notes,

The CFED calls these folks “liquid asset poor,” and its report finds that 44% of Americans are living with less than $5,887 in savings for a family of four.


The plight of these folks is compounded by the fact that the recession ravaged many Americans’ credit scores to the point that now 56% percent of us have subprime credit.



That means that if emergencies arise, many Americans are forced to resort to high-interest debt from credit cards or payday loans.

And this financial insecurity isn’t just affected the lower classes. According to the CFED, one-quarter of middle-class households also fall into the category of “liquid asset poor.”

Geographically, most of the economically insecure are clustered in the South and West, with Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, and Arkansas being the states with the highest percentage of financially insecure.



Full study below:

2014 Scorecard Report

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atomp's picture

and another nearly half doesn't even get a paycheck!

666's picture

What's a paycheck?

onewayticket2's picture

this is the strategy....dependency equals (dependable) votes.  increase dependency and you increase your votes.  get to 51% and you have yourself a monopoly on election results. 

johnQpublic's picture


fixed the problem already donchaknow

James_Cole's picture

69% in MS? Wow.. No wonder payday loans do so well. 

Caviar Emptor's picture

Biflation is eating away at buying power and it's picking up speed. Released this week: income growth 0%, unit labor costs up. How's that for state of the union?

TruthInSunshine's picture

Take away credit cards and the United States would suffer an instantaneous Great Depression II.

Notice that I didn't even mention the 55% of the population that receives direct government transfer payments (most of which are funded via the government borrowing money to pay for, as in deficit spending, as in increasing the national debt), whether Social Security, SNAP/EBT, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance Payments, Social Security Disability Insurance, Aid to Families With Dependent Children, Utilities Assistance, etc.

Notice that I didn't mention the ARMY of 22,000,000 federal, state and local unit of government "employees," (or 1 in 6.5 Americans deemed officially "employed" - that is 1 out of every 6.5 Americans with a job working off the taxpayer teat) - not including military personnel -mainly unionized, who do the work that probably 12,000,000 could do at less compensation if government was nearly as efficient as the private sector.

Just taking away the credit cards would do it.

greatbeard's picture

>> increasing the national debt), whether Social Security,

So tell me, how much has social security added to the deficit?  I see you made no mention of the military.  Do you have any idea how much of the deficit is a direct result of military spending?  You might want to check around for a new propaganda source.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Don't forget that words in parentheses count:

"(MOST of which are funded via the government borrowing money to pay for, as in deficit spending, as in increasing the national debt)..."

boogerbently's picture

1) So if they have nothing saved AND we reduce/remove SocSec ????

2) Earnings level directly corresponds to education level.

3) Eligible women outnumber eligible men 2:1 !

PT's picture

Only "nearly half"?

Oh, that's right, the other half doesn't get a pay cheque. 

Colonel Walter E Kurtz's picture

Do not forget all those under funded government pension plans we are all on the hook for!

e2thex's picture



Are you saying then that half of America does not own expensive cell phones?


boogerbently's picture

Sure they do, they're "free" !

PT's picture

e2thex:  I'd like to say that is a fair comment.  But if a boss is looking for a worker and I'm not at home to take the call, I'm not sure he'd wait for me instead of just ringing number 2 on his list.  This is the only reason I own a cell phone, and is the reason I do not blame others for having cell phones.  Apart from that, yeah, I do understand that is no excuse for buying the most expensive phone on the most expensive plan.

Even welfare mommas wanna "keep up with the Jones's".  And if the latest fad is the latest phone then so be it.  In fact, the urge to "keep up with the Jones's" is the main reason that I don't care about welfare bums.  The urge to keep up with the Jones's should be enough to get all of them off their bums and working ... if the work is available of course, and if the pay-off is worth it.

prains's picture

if you like your paycheque you can keep your paycheque......


but first you have to find it

Offthebeach's picture

Here in Massachusetts, I've heard radio adds for bailout scammers for people who owe two or more payday loans that they've walked out on.
WTF. When does the bloodsucking stop?

PT's picture

Bailout scamming?  Hey!  It's a growth industry!  Probably worth looking into.  Better to be the mediator than the victim ( on either of the three sides - debtor, debtee, taxpayer that bails out both of them ).  I know it is shit and it is unfair etc etc etc, but minimum wages (too low when compared to price of real estate ) and bail-outs are also unfair and no-one complains about that!  Think of it as a way of clawing back some of your losses to both the banksters and the idiots that borrowed too much and bid prices into the unaffordable stratosphere.

Remember, the banks are not rich.  They are in debt to the tune of trillions, and they are trying to put up a facade and pretend nothing is wrong.  At current wage levels, the debt will never be paid back.  Default or hyper-inflation it is.  Stop wishing for what will never be and look at what is.  


Actually, it is probably safer to hide under a rock than try to dance with the devil.

Zero guest's picture

So you are saying that the Kondratieff winter and the Elliot Wave are political stratigies.

Vendetta's picture

Yeah that and having every 'candidate' a clone of political ideology from either party.

Semi-employed White Guy's picture

No, Republicans differ sharply with Democrats on tie color and skirt length preferences.  And I'm not being gender specific either!

Mr Pink's picture

It's that slip of paper that reads;

Fed withholding

State withholding

Social Security


Health insurance deduction

Medical savings plan contrubution

401k contribution

401k loan payment

myra contribution


Net pay - $8

Peter Pan's picture

The world is just one missed paycheck away from disaster just about in any country of the world.

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

nah, the .fed or IMF would simply print the excess weekly paycheck and loan it back to you....just to keep the ponzi going....that is how it has lasted this long.

A Nanny Moose's picture

It's that source of income, the remainder of which will soon be consumed by health insurance non-coverage.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Fortunately, these people will now soon be offered MyRA's, and then within a couple months they'll have secure futures because ... the govt says so.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Official Song for MyRA:

MyRApe Me - by Nirvana

Rape me
Rape me, my friend
Rape me
Rape me again

I'm not the only one, Aaah
I'm not the only one, Aaah
I'm not the only one, Aaah
I'm not the only one, Aaah

Hate me
Do it and do it Again
Waste me
Rape me, my friend

I'm not the only one, Aaah
I'm not the only one, Aaah
I'm not the only one, Aaah
I'm not the only one, Aaah

My favorite inside source
I'll kiss your open sores
I Appreciate your concern
You're gonna stink and burn

Rape me
Rape me, my friend
Rape me
Rape me again

tempo's picture

Tell the .01% of the population that own 90% of the world's assets to sell most of what they own and stop using the military to increase their wealth.

PT's picture

Tell 'em it's not too smart to wish to double their money when they already own 90% of current money and 100% of the next 100 years' worth of money.

Seasmoke's picture

not there yet......but sure look like i will joining the group in the next 2 years or so.....i will make sure i say hi to everyone, when i problems for 50 years, but i guess i just all of a sudden became a moron and cant handle my finances

666's picture

Do they live from automatic direct deposit dole payment to automatic direct deposit dole payment as well?

boogerbently's picture

I'm thinking the push to raise Minimum Wage will put most bottom feeders over the Welfare eligibility limit.

A sort of "tax" transferring a large portion of welfare payments to businesses.

Zero guest's picture

Low wages have been a subsidy to business so you are right. Something else we can't afford to do anymore.

Zero guest's picture

Low wages have been a subsidy to business so you are right. Something else we can't afford to do anymore.

Jack Burton's picture

Anyone whose job goes away in the global market place, is of course a lazy no count whose lack of hard work has landed him in poverty. Our nation offers all the advantages for wealth creation, nobody who deserves to earn good money will be left behind. This begs the question why so many have fallen off the wealth creation machine. Jobs used to be plentyful and labor was in demand, to such an extent that workers formed unions that negotiated labor contracts. Now that Clinton's and Bush's globalization has been fully implimented. we have seen jobs for the bottom 50% flee to China 'en mass. We were told by Clinton and Bush that this was good, a sign Americans no longer needed to do manual labor. Our superior American brains would now design and create while Asian hands produced what our fruitful minds thought up. Every American was joyfull. Hurray! No more fucking factory work, like assembly of appliances, engines, tire making, steel making, timber harvesting, saw mill work, etc. etc. Believe you me, I live in an industrial town, a small little town, but with a history of railroads, mining and timber harvester manufacturing. I worked a few of these jobs, and you get dirty, you sometimes get tired and women think you are shit, because you don't go to work in a suit. I left that behind, but still remember it.

I just don't get everyone who loves to talk dirt about the Americans whose jobs were taken away, and they were taken away by American business, the guys in the suits. In my town, where once a thousand industrial jobs existed in the 80's, today the total is no more than 200. So I ask, should those other 800 all become nurses, lawyers and school teachers? I shit you not, I know many who made just that switch if they were still young. We also know all 800 are not needed in those jobs.  We all know the jobs aren't there, and those that are have seen dropping real wages for 3 decades. Assets soar, wages tank, and some people relish calling the bottom 50% parasites. I'm sorry, these are people I was raised with, worked with and know, calling them lazy, in order to make yourself feel like a Big Man, is bullshit.

Seasmoke, I hope you don't go under, but given America's asset driven economy, if you do actual work for a living, your job is always under threat. The money printers are not helping you, and never will. They print to help assets holders get rich, not workers get jobs.

James_Cole's picture

It's the same fucking idiot arguments made, blows my mind.

^ 3mins on, 1994 - same stupid bullshit (slightly adjusted to avoid being anachronistic) argued for today

Vendetta's picture

Yep.  Goldsmith called it like so many others who were all poo poo'd away from the cameras' and microphones  ... and here we are.

DontGive's picture

Boils down to a couple things. IMO.

First it's a new era, shits getting mechanized. Folks need to be able to move around to find skilled jobs. That, and you know, like get some skills and shit.

Andre's picture

The first - moving around - precludes the second - getting skills.

Without job stability you have no educational stability for the kids. You are constantly uprooting and rebuilding, new deposits new this new that, PLUS

The kids can't finish a grade. Sorry, the 6 month contract is up, time to move on. Get there, oh, well, the grades didn't transfer so he'll have to do junior year over... again...and again...

The generational effects of employment instability will be profound and extremely destructive. That's the reason I kind of chuckle about "robots will run the world" stuff. I've seen this, I've been in industrial maintenance. This place is SO fucked.

Case in point, a turret punch press that could not stay up more than  a week and would be down for days. Always blew up an optocoupler. Problem? After 5 months we finally got the schematics and found - in another cabinet - a zener had been installed backwards. And that was with guys who were GOOD. Try that with a "read the manual" monkey - NFW.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

This is so true and though, as a professional I don't fear an illegal taking my job as those in other industries, I am under acute pressure by increased mechanization and highly educated foreigners moving into the medical field. I doubt I will last 10 years before I am superfluous and I am relatively well paid. The medical field is not the promise land Obama has portrayed. Jobs are quickly drying up and layoffs are occurring in this supposed healthy field.

When you see the writing on the wall, the first thing you do is look for alternatives. Nothing at this time is remotely close to my pay at present. This is not because I am unwilling to do dirty work. I've worked milking cows getting covered in shit and kicked unconscious. I've bussed tables and worked in fast food. I've worked in a hop kiln for 12 straight hours a day for three weeks during harvest. I know how to work hard but at my age I am no competition for the younger crowd.

Right now I bring home less than 1/2 what I make. I am unable to save for this fast approaching long term "rainy day". Always in the past I have nimbly moved to growth areas in my field to keep myself relevant. There is no where to go now and I am cornered. I have complete empathy for those who are unemployed. I wish I could help them. But, truth be told it is more likely I will join them and I feel absolutely helpless avoiding this fate.


KickIce's picture

I've been trying to talk my kid out of the medical field for a number of reasons.  With Obama care I not so sure it'll pay well when considering the time invested and I don't like the moral implications of having an IRS agent playing God.  Then you get into Big Pharm and with the emphasis on pain management rather than healing as well as all the poisons that are go into or bodies with GMOs. On the bright side he's early in so maybe he'll see the light when he interns.  Thus far we have manged to keep debt reasonable and he does have a solid background in chemistry.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I concur. Five years ago there was a critical shortage of microbiologists. The average age was 56 and all internships in our region had stopped. They made a massive drive to the colleges to push students into the field. When I was an intern they paid a $400/mo stipend for a year internship. Today, the same internship is 18 months and costs $20,000! Plus you have to have a BS degree in biology or microbiology. So the investment is extraordinarily high. Starting wage is around $25/hr and maxs out around $55 in my area but it will take a long time to see that number. The amount of mechanization of the lab in the past few years has exploded. More and more things that were done by hand for years are being done by instrumentation. We do not need many to replace us at this rate and I don't see how these young students will pay off their astronomical debt they have been fraudulently coerced to take on.

More and more Drs I work with ( especially hospitalists) are from Africa and India. So I know there are pressures on the physicians as well. I believe in a few years most GPs will be foreign.


lasvegaspersona's picture

In Nevada our legislature just passed a law allowing PAs and NPs to practice without physician oversight. They can set up their own clinics.

So the Nurse practitioners who has a PhD is now "Doctor Jones"...all without the hassle of med school...and without the clinical experience.

Look for these clinics staffed by aggressive advertisers with these PAs and NPs (you can afford that advertising when you don't have to pay doctors) to be Obama's answer to high cost medical care. 

Originally these were to be physician extenders, closely supervised and doing mainly triage and algorithmic care. Now they will be your primary care 'doctor' and if they do recognoze a problem...well it  will be you who pays the price. THIS is where medicine is headed.

Iam_Silverman's picture

"Today, the same internship is 18 months and costs $20,000! Plus you have to have a BS degree in biology or microbiology. So the investment is extraordinarily high."


You know, with your past experience in lactating bovines, a useful side field would be large animal veterinary practice.  I see them as being the lonk to our future after the "big reset".  You could travel around the countryside fixing the ills of our livestock, and maybe offer a little insight to curing human maladies on the side.  Many folks I know are surprised at the amount of medical equipment you can purchase at stores such as tractor Supply Company and such.  Injectibles, powdered sulfa, you get my drift.

Agstacker's picture

When I was going to school for clinical lab science, the majority of the population of students were from foreign countries.  

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

Go into one of two fields... 1)Energy 2)Food. I used to have 3)Medical in there but the writing is on the wall with .gov intervention....

Vendetta's picture

Yep.  My sister is a nurse (LPN) and makes only poverty wages working ridiculous hours.  For a multi-trillion dollar industry, the money isn't flowing to people who provide the most one-on-one healthcare services.

highly debtful's picture

Impressive rant. And I mean that, because there's a lot of truth in what you write. America losing its manufacturing base will prove to be a costly mistake. Europe is going the same way. 

But here is something I don't quite understand about the US and Americans: this unbridled consumerism. Why is that? What caused the Americans to adopt a lifestyle they could not really afford in these past decades? You see, here in Europe, we make a very clear distinction between a credit card and our - how to define it correctly - regular bank card, which is pretty much a debit card. And using such a debit card is like pulling bank notes out of your wallet when you pay for something: your bank account is debited for the paid amount within days, whereas a credit card in general is used only for major purchases over here. But if I understand it correctly, you Americans use your credit cards for the purchases most Europeans use their regular bank cards for. And that way you run up impressive debts on which you have to pay equally impressive intrest rates. 

Now don't get me wrong: most European countries are economic basket cases as well and we have plenty problems of our own. The point of this post is not to prove that Europe is superior in financial management, because clearly it is not. But I only want to comprehend how you came to be so hooked up on stuff, more so apparently than we did over here?