14 Signs That Most Americans Are Flat Broke And Totally Unprepared For The Coming Economic Crisis

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

When the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks.  At this point, more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings.  One of the primary principles that any of these “financial experts” that you see on television will teach you is to have a cushion to fall back on.  At the very least, you never know when unexpected expenses like major car repairs or medical bills will come along. 

And in the event of a major economic collapse, if you do not have any financial cushion at all you will be a sitting duck.  Yes, I know that there are millions upon millions of families out there that are just trying to scrape by from month to month at this point.  I hear from people that are deeply struggling in this economy all the time.  So I don’t blame them for not being able to save lots of money.  But if you are in a position to build up an emergency fund, you need to do so.  We have been experiencing an extended period of relative economic stability, but it will not last.  In fact, the time for getting prepared for the next great economic downturn is rapidly running out, and most Americans are not ready for it at all.

The following are 14 signs that most Americans are flat broke and totally unprepared for the coming economic crisis…

#1 According to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.

#2 That same survey discovered that an additional 13 percent of all Americans do not have any credit card debt, but they do not have a single penny of emergency savings either.

#3 At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

#4 Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.

#5 More than half of all students in U.S. public schools come from families that are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.

#6 A study that was conducted last year found that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.

#7 One survey discovered that 52 percent of all Americans really cannot even financially afford the homes that they are living in right now.

#8 According to research conducted by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $2000 right now without borrowing it.

#9 That same study found that 60 percent of Americans could not say yes to the following question…

“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”

#10 A different study discovered that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#11 Today, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt.

#12 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.

#13 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#14 53 percent of all Americans do not even have a minimum three day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

Perhaps none of this concerns you.

Perhaps you think that this bubble economy can persist indefinitely.

Well, if you won’t listen to the more than 1200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse on my website, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.  The following is what he recently told one interviewer

We asked him where he thought the gold price will be in five years and he said “measurably higher.”


In private conversation I asked him about the outstanding debts… and that the debt load in the U.S. had gotten so great that there has to be some monetary depreciation. Specially he said that the era of quantitative easing and zero-interest rate policies by the Fed… we really cannot exit this without some significant market event… By that I interpret it being either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession, which would then engender another round of monetary reflation by the Fed.


He thinks something big is going to happen that we can’t get out of this era of money printing without some repercussions – and pretty severe ones – that gold will benefit from.

And as I have stressed so frequently, the signs that the next crisis is almost here are all around us.

For example, the Baltic Dry Index has just plunged to a fresh record low, and things have already gotten so bad that some global shippers are now filing for bankruptcy

The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”

Perhaps you do see things coming.

Perhaps you do want to get prepared.

If you are new to all of this, and you don’t quite know how to get started preparing, please see my previous article entitled “89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression“.  It will give you some basic tips that you can start implementing right away.

And of course one of the most important things is something that I talked about at the top of this article.

If at all possible, you have got to have an emergency fund.  When the coming economic storm strikes, your family is going to need something to fall back on.

If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.

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venturen's picture

Well we need to expand Obamacare to all aspects of life! Problem solved

NoDebt's picture

That's what the next "crisis" will be for.

nuubee's picture

Actually, if you have more debt denominated in dollars than you have dollars, you'll probably come out in better shape than some pensioner who goes to bed each night thinking of his positive bank account balance.

Crises like these, should it actually go down ugly in my lifetime, leave no one completely unscathed, and generally create more unexpected havoc than predictable events.

XqWretch's picture

"I dont have to worry about my mortgage, I dont have to worry about my car payment, Obama gunna take care of us"

RiderOnTheStorm's picture

You forgot to mention the free Obamaphone too.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Will debt relief for IRS bills be counted?

dimwitted economist's picture

in Michigan we get 10 cents for beer and pop cans... i pick em up everyplace i find them.

JRev's picture

Well, the government takes ten cents by force and gives it back to you for being a "Good Green Citizen," but point taken.

A Nanny Moose's picture

That's just an interest free loan to Gubmint.

TruthInSunshine's picture

The Michigan recycle rate can/bottle scheme only works if you have a no-cost postal truck at your disposal, as Kramer found out.

Larry Dallas's picture

OK. I've been a good Boy Scout. And if this listicle was a checklist to be an Eagle Scout, I'd have my pin.

So when is the apocolapse going to happen? Tell me when.

That would be more interesting than these listicles we've seen over 100x already.

p00k1e's picture


I have a paid off house.  Like a Suburban Sheik, I’ll have a yummy harem in no time.


suteibu's picture

I am thankful every day not to be one of these statistics. 

And given the life I've led, I am constantly amazed it turned out so well.

MisterMousePotato's picture

The guy above deserves credit for "listicle" if he made it up. I like it.

laomei's picture

Yep, pay that shit off and hoard your wealth... then when everything goes to shit, you buy out the neighbors for nothing and expand the estate.

Parrotile's picture

Unless "The Neighbours" have ideas of their own.  Here "Down Under" there are plenty of neighbourhoods (using the term in the most loose fashion) where you would certainly NOT be wanting to expand the estate, often not so far from the more "gentrified" locations.

When "It" happens, you'll have a lot more to worry about than the best predatory offer on your neighbours' McMansions . . . . .

laomei's picture

more buffer zone for that moat and minefield

weburke's picture

9-13-15, if we are going to be deep lore about it. 

There will be photos shown around the world of an empty space. 

3-20-15 will have something, but I have no clue. Could be a domino falling, into others. 

If a comet shows up, (not on the above dates for sure) or a reasonable facsimile, dont be near cities or ocean. we do have metal missles. Notice the comet that broke up over russia? No? and the other? no? well, expect that. 

Here is an eagle for you Scouti !

aerie is eagles nest.                 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdEtzL6GYtw

A Nanny Moose's picture

Be careful what you wish for. Apocalypse is gonna make for a very stinky, disease ridden planet....without toilet paper.

The closest we have come, at least in modern history might just be the battlefields of WWI, but the people who experienced that are all dead, and can only convey Dante's Inferno in their writings (which requires reading comprehension..ugh....pewblik skewlz...again!!!) Dan Carlin has a great series on WWI in his Hardcore History Podcast. WWI only killed a few million. What would Apocalypse claim

Now??? Hell is simply lack of cell/data service on your surveillance iThingy. Sweet Fucking Dreams...Sunshine.

roadhazard's picture

"without toilet paper"

We will all be muslims then.

drendebe10's picture

"Government isn't the solution to our problem. Goverment is the problem."  Ronald Reagan, Spokesman for 20 Mule Team Boraxo and Host of Death Valley Days.....  oh, yea, the President of the United States who restored America's optimism and greatness after the second worst democrap president in history.... 

Burls's picture

What are you talking about? 

Reagan went on to run up more debt than any US President before him.

RiderOnTheStorm's picture

And Obama ran up more debt than all before him.  In fact he will have pretty much doubled it by the time he leaves office in two years.  So are we in a better place now?  Are you fucking happy with your fucking nitpicking????????

TBT or not TBT's picture

That was during the cold war.    Since Reagan won that war, what existential threat have we been endebting ourselves to overcome?   Nothing was bought with that.  

John_Coltrane's picture

So Obama's debt run-up of $7 Trillion and counting is larger than $1 T?  Is this the new math:  7<1?

Man, the morons posting on this site now!  BTW Reagan was the best and most entertaining president of this century by FAR!  Remember Tip O'Neill and the dems congtrolled the budget during his presendency and congress sets the budget.  For example Reagan wanted to eliminate the Dept of Energy and Education and would certainly have done so if allowed.  And also to block grant medicaid!

WeeWilly's picture

Really, Drendebe? I just saw this exact post on another, unrelated thread. Think much?

floyd084's picture

This is exactly what I have been trying to explain. All we need is mandatory insurance for essential goods and services. Food insurance, homeless insurance, employment insurance, energy insurance, insurance insurance. Then bingo everyone will be guaranteed to have what they need.

one_hundred's picture
one_hundred (not verified) venturen Feb 25, 2015 1:21 AM

my neighbor's mother makes $86 /hr on the computer . She has been laid off for 10 months but last month her pay was $21128 just working on the computer for a few hours. go to the website... www.globe-report.com

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

You know, you're right! I remember seeing her on Skanks-R-Us webcam slutties! Shit, she's really let herself go. Kinda' sad if you think about it. Well, with all that money maybe now she can get her teeth fixed, though I bet she gives better head without them, huh? Do you call her Granny or Gummy?

Oldballplayer's picture

Does Obamacare cover gunshot wounds?

NoDebt's picture

Most Americans are unprepared for this "recovery", let alone the next downturn.  

List articles.... gotta love 'em.


u8mapwho's picture

More than 1200 articles on the coming collapse.....lol. Love that line.

I wonder what Tyler's count is up to now?

knukles's picture

BTW, ND, just where would you put us in this Recoverythingamabob?  I mean we're past "Green Shoots", been through "gaining traction" a bazillion times, maybe seen "really heating up" here and there, "everything's awesome" (or derivations thereof) have been exhausted into abject weariness, housing is a cornerstone of the Recovery as well as insert anything else as a cornerstone, more excuses have been delivered than Alibaba has Thieves with weather, nice weather, strikes, disruptions and the only God knows what the Next Excuse is going to be to pull out the "temporary" or "transitory" meme as well as it's all Bush's or the Republican's faults.  So, where are we?

p00k1e's picture

At least we saw that Martha Stewart go up the river during our lifetimes.    

cowdiddly's picture

in a boat on a proverbial creek with brownish icky water paddling to beat hell with bare hands .

Ms. Erable's picture

Should be obvious, Knuks, given the time of year: we're approaching the Summer of Recovery VII: The Wrath of Strauss-Khan.

NoDebt's picture

"BTW, ND, just where would you put us in this Recoverythingamabob?"

If I was to put it anywhere, it would be in quotation marks (which I did, and not by accident).  Because it's just a word they use, not a reality.  It never was.  We took a PERMANENT hit in 2008/2009.  Aside from the brief bounce-back in 2009-2010 off the shock-lows, the real economy has stagnated at best, about 5-6% below peak and with a significantly flattened trajectory.  Doesn't sound like much, but it is in a fiat debt-based world where NO structural shrinkage can be sustained.  The next REAL downturn will be the widowmaker and they damned well know it.  

We're somewhere between "meh" at best and "waiting for death" at worst.  All policy levers are still in "emergency mode", which should give you an idea where the Fed and the government think we are.  If a serious downturn were to occur at this point there would be nothing left to counter it but outright confiscation of private wealth (distateful and unpopular, not to mention you can only do it once), or an all-out printing Blitzkreig without end, a la Japan (more likely).

That's where we are.

On a side note, I don't make a lot of friends saying stuff like that, so I usually don't say it.


booboo's picture

You're trying to make friends? friends are over rated

knukles's picture

Damn, ND, I was hopin' for information and what I get is affirmation.
Maybe I oughta hang out at HuffPo for a while?  Already got thrown off the Economist years ago.....

NumNutt's picture

Actually I am surprised to see articles like this still. I would think after the first cluster fuck (2007-2008), most people would have pulled their heads out of their asses and figured out it was time to start doing things different. Oh well guess not. Stupid is as stupid does Forest.....I tried to warn people around me before 2007, and I would get laughter and blank stairs back then. Hate to say it but I have started to try and warn them again, but now I don't waste my time if they are not interrested, I make money off of fools. The world is full of them.

Joe Sichs Pach's picture

Agree with you ND on the permanence. Japan is the model. It's the precedent. It "works". They're not eating each other, defending their plots of land or bartering goods/services or purchasing things with PM's (openly). It's not the apocalypse and I think TPTB are ok with that setup.

highly debtful's picture

We took a PERMANENT hit in 2008/2009.

Exactamente. It puzzles me - it used to anger me - how the general public is capable of downplaying that event, ever more so as the years go by, while that was in fact the biggie that destroyed the supporting structures beneath the surface. The building is still standing, looking in pretty decent shape, while the cracks at the base continue to widen inexorably. 

What terrifies me, is the stubborn reluctance of the political and financial world to throw in the towel and finally face the music.

On a side note, I don't make a lot of friends saying stuff like that, so I usually don't say it.

Looking on the bright side: you can make a lot of new friends saying stuff like that over here. Too bad we're all batshit crazy. But beggars can't be choosers.

knukles's picture


battlestargalactica's picture

Meanwhile CA BCBS is fucking over state academic healthcare systems with crazy contract disputes.

Oh well, gotta keep the Free Shit Army in birth control and diabetes meds

Bay Area Guy's picture

I'm actually surprised at #13. That percentage seems quite high to me. I am betting some people interpreted the question as relating to having a flashlight and not about food, water and other necessities.

QQQBall's picture

She counted her Ag earnings as an investment.