78% Of US Workers Are Living 'Paycheck-To-Paycheck' & 71% Of Them Are In Debt

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Are you living paycheck to paycheck?  If so, you are just like most other hard working Americans.

As you will see below, 78 percent of full-time workers in the United States say that they are living paycheck to paycheck.  That is the highest figure ever recorded, and it is yet more evidence that the middle class is under an increasing amount of stress The cost of living is rising at a much faster pace than our paychecks are, and more families are falling out of the middle class with each passing month.  Unfortunately, this is something that the mainstream media really doesn’t want to talk about these days.  Instead, they just keep having us focus on the soaring financial markets which are being grossly artificially inflated by global central banks.

When I came across the numbers that I am about to share with you I was actually quite stunned.  I knew that things were not great in “the real economy”, but I didn’t expect that the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck would actually be rising.  But that is precisely what a brand new survey that was just released by CareerBuilder is saying…

Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year, according to a recent report from CareerBuilder.


Overall, 71 percent of all U.S. workers said they’re now in debt, up from 68 percent a year ago, CareerBuilder said.


While 46 percent said their debt is manageable, 56 percent said they were in over their heads. About 56 percent also save $100 or less each month, according to CareerBuilder.

The first thing that we want to note about this survey is that it only includes full-time workers.  So the unemployed, part-time workers, those that work for themselves and those that are independently wealthy were not included.

The second thing that we want to note is that these numbers have gotten worse since last year.

That certainly does not fit with the narrative that we are being fed by the mainstream media, but it does fit with the reality that most people are living on a daily basis.

Most Americans work extremely hard, but they can never seem to get ahead.  Most of us are in debt, and a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the elite use debt as a tool of enslavement.  As we work endless hours to “pay the bills”, we are steadily enriching those that are holding our debts.

In addition, the cost of living is steadily going up, and most U.S. families are just barely scraping by from month to month as a result.  Just a couple days ago I wrote about how Obamacare was causing health insurance premiums to skyrocket, and today I came across another example of someone that has seen their annual premiums more than double during the Obamacare era…

For some lower-income people in Obamacare, the rising premiums President Donald Trump has talked so much about will barely be felt at all. Others, particularly those with higher incomes, will feel the sharp increases when insurance sign-ups begin Wednesday.


Richard Taylor is one of the people on the wrong end. The 61-year-old, self-employed Oklahoman has meticulously tracked his medical costs since 1994. In 2013, he signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan for the law’s first year offering coverage to millions of Americans.


Four years ago, annual premiums for a mid-level “silver” plan to cover his family totaled $10,072.44. For 2017, they were $21,392.40—up 112 percent.

Who can afford $21,000 a year for health insurance?

I know that I can’t.

And rates are supposed to go up substantially again in 2018.  We must repeal Obamacare, and we must do it now.

In addition to financial stress, most Americans are also deeply concerned about the future of this country.  Just consider the following numbers from a poll that was released this week

Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday.  This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

I certainly can’t blame the Democrats for being stressed out.  Donald Trump is in the White House and pro-Trump forces are taking over the Republican Party.  And if a large wave of pro-Trump activists goes to Congress in 2018, we are going to take this nation in a completely different direction.

That same survey referenced above also discovered that 59 percent of Americans consider this “to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember”

A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)

That number seems very strange.

Yes, I can understand that those on the left are very pessimistic now that Trump is in the White House, but this is definitely not the lowest point in recent history.

Have people totally forgotten the financial crisis of 2008?

What about 9/11?

The JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, the deep recession during the Carter years and the entire Obama era are also examples of very low points in recent history.

Yes, great challenges are coming, but for the moment the economy is relatively stable, much of the world is at peace, and at least Hillary Clinton is not in the White House.

There is so much to be thankful for, and if people out there think that this is the “lowest point” in recent American history, how are they going to feel when a real crisis comes along?

*  *  *

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

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JuliaS's picture

The banks and the Fed may be printing like there's no tomorrow, inflating bubbles, but it all stems from the initial demand for debt. Money originates when person takes out a mortgage. Don't take a mortgage, the bank doesn't get to do its fractional reserve magic and doesn't get the license to inflate. Each time a person chooses to finance a purchase, he/she puts money in a banker's pocket. Being an independent observer is not enough. People want to keep up with the Joneses.

Love this scene from "The Ten" which pretty much illustrates our national predicament.


rf80412's picture

I'm debt free and work too hard for my money to spend it, but it sounds like they're getting a whole lot more out of life than I am.

runnymede's picture

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone"


moonmac's picture

The Fed only cares about boosting their own asset values. They’ve been jacking up the cost of living while laughing all the way to the bank!

QQQBall's picture

The vried GFC stream of "plans" (TARP, TWEIST, QE infinity, etc.) were intended to benefit the banks, even by inflating underwater assets and making "evergreened loans" money-good. Of course higher asset prices increased borrowing for homemoaners and increased rental demand for peeps with declining real wages.  had the banks eaten tehir losses, some would have gone away; others would have bondholders converted to equity stakes and the previous equity holders would have eaten shit - as they should have.  Your bank deposit makes you an unsecured creditor. There is not a corner of the vault marked "John Smith's deposit"... your stock brokerage accounts of whatever sort are held "in street name" (as it NOT in your name). They use weird terms like "hypothecate/re-hypothecate" which basically means stealing someone else's asset by pledging it as THEIR collateral; or they pledge it a number of times to different counter-parties.  Corzine shifted his customers funds to London and pledged them as MF Global collateral... No, he is not in jail, although you would be. The next bail-in will be more overt theft than giving banks 100 cents on the dollar on shit loans and then taking the money back to the FED and redepositing it as "excess reserves" and getting paid interest on teh "excess reserve deposit". .  Like others here, I have lived around the world and parts of the USSA are shitholes beyond belief. This will worsen.


Think in terms of a neo-fuedal system and you will be getting warm. People rent their homes, lease their cars, pay installments for furnishings, pay installment for clothing including crazy priced "designer" shoes and handbags, and phones, and on and on. When they get close to having a surplus, a new month starts and they have to pay again.

RozKo's picture

In some countries (and the past) its not unusual for kids to owe the debts that their parents took out when the parents die. If I remember right, there were also debtors prisons... This is not going to end well for people who owe large amounts of money to the banks.

Ron_Mexico's picture

Wait a minute . . . wait a minute. Johnny Cash nailed this one back in 1970:

"Mississippi Delta land you robbed me of my youth
And all you gave back was a one room shack and a mind that learned the truth
There ain't no future for the man that works but never owns the land
And now these old hard working hands are headin' for Chicago in the morning
Mississippi Delta land your riches ain't for me
These kids of mine and me's gonna find a better place to be.
Thank you"

You see, he realized way back then that, ultimately, in a capitalist system you must control the means of production or become a serf.

shovelhead's picture

Well,  it really doesn't take a whole lot of prefrontal flexing to figure that one out.

rf80412's picture

Figuring it out doesn't make money appear to buy your share of the means of production with.

And don't hold your breath for the people to seize the means of production by force.  That's communism and Jesus doesn't like it.

runnymede's picture

Cheap shot at Jesus. He was a great anarchist. He knew who to call out; pharisees and moneychangers. Then challenged those with ears to hear to be more concerned with their own way of being.

Those that came later and set about organizing the thing, entwining it with their own interests, are fair game. 

shovelhead's picture

I just shelled out $340 to have my furnace blower replaced. The guy was going to bill me but I told him I'd pay him now.

He said that was the first paid in full he had seen in over 6 months. He said most people ask how long they have to pay after he bills and if they do financing.

I would have replaced it myself but its in the attic with just a narrow catwalk to access it. It's a real pain in the ass to work on it.

The motor and cap was $105 if I bought it at depot instead of the new one he had.

Tell your kids to become HVAC guys. When a cheap bastard like me will pay $235 for an hour and a halfs work, you know your in the right business.

yaright's picture

I am the operations manager at a HVAC company and yes tell you kids to go into Commercial HVAC.  My techs make on average $50.00 per hr and all the overtime they want.

shovelhead's picture

No lie. I was thrilled they made it out that afternoon. It was getting cold as hell in there. I knew it was a spun motor bearing but it's in a sucky location.

Apparently, by the cost they knew it too.

KimAsa's picture

I knew this was a Michael Snyder article.

Mind the GAAP's picture

I live paycheck-to-paycheck out of choice, not necessity.  I carve out all of my savings and expenses right off the top and leave just the bare minimum left over for disposible income.  By the end of the month I'm out of money.

Pretending you're broke when you're acutally not is a helluva way to keep yourself from buying shit you really don't need.  Income goes up, savings go up - lifestyle is kept in check.

ThrowAwayYourTV's picture

Sip at life, dont gulp it down.

ThrowAwayYourTV's picture

Its all stacked against the average Joe now. Theres more forced debt then there is life.

The answer is if you are middle or lower middle class jump the fence NOW and escape from their prison planet. Plan a simple life away from bank and corporations idea of how your life should be lived. Let the stressed out high class dreamers of big houses and toys eat themselves trying to keep up with each other.


GunnyG's picture

Well SOMEONE has to pay for the lazy niggers and illegal aliens to live a comfortable life.

There's picture

Those are the ones in Board Rooms and in the Hamptons, right.

Corporate welfare exceeds transfer payments by a wide margin if the Retired population is not counted.


whatswhat1@yahoo.com's picture

"...Most Americans work extremely hard..."

That is the problem in a nutshell.  WORK SMART, NOT HARD.

Although, that's easier said than done since Americans have been dumbed down since the 1980's.

Zorba's idea's picture

Hahaha! Working Smart? If it ain't work in the right club it ain't so smart. Most Americans aren't in the right CLUB..Bub.

Upland27's picture

the thralldom of interest, yall. placated with shiny things while the cabal robs you blind.

Stan522's picture

Two things I believe have occurred that contribute most to our current economic demise for many.... First, it's all the growth of government into all facists of life and their insatiable apetite for our paycheck through taxes (see below) Second, it's the creation of the Federal Research and their insatiable apetite for debasing our currency. You can top all of that off with our current culture of morons that refuse to live in the present.....

#1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)

#2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes

#3 Building Permit Taxes

#4 Business Registration Fees

#5 Capital Gains Taxes

#6 Cigarette Taxes

#7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#8 Disposal Fees

#9 Dog License Taxes

#10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

#11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax

#12 Employer Medicare Taxes

#13 Employer Social Security Taxes

#14 Environmental Fees

#15 Estate Taxes

#16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans

#17 Federal Corporate Taxes

#18 Federal Income Taxes

#19 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#20 Fishing License Taxes

#21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)

#22 Food And Beverage License Fees

#23 Franchise Business Taxes

#24 Garbage Taxes

#25 Gasoline Taxes

#26 Gift Taxes

#27 Gun Ownership Permits

#28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees

#29 Highway Access Fees

#30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)

#31 Hunting License Taxes

#32 Import Taxes

#33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes

#34 Inheritance Taxes

#35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses

#36 Inspection Fees

#37 Insurance Premium Taxes

#38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes

#39 Inventory Taxes

#40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes

#41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#43 Library Taxes

#44 License Plate Fees

#45 Liquor Taxes

#46 Local Corporate Taxes

#47 Local Income Taxes

#48 Local School Taxes

#49 Local Unemployment Taxes

#50 Luxury Taxes

#51 Marriage License Taxes

#52 Medicare Taxes

#53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare

#54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don't buy "qualifying" health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)

#55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)

#56 Parking Meters

#57 Passport Fees

#58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)

#59 Property Taxes

#60 Real Estate Taxes

#61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#62 Registration Fees For New Businesses

#63 Toll Booth Taxes

#64 Sales Taxes

#65 Self-Employment Taxes

#66 Sewer & Water Taxes

#67 School Taxes

#68 Septic Permit Taxes

#69 Service Charge Taxes

#70 Social Security Taxes

#71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction

#72 Sports Stadium Taxes

#73 State Corporate Taxes

#74 State Income Taxes

#75 State Park Entrance Fees

#76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)

#78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes

#79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes

#80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes

#81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes

#82 Telephone State And Local Taxes

#83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes

#84 The Alternative Minimum Tax

#85 Tire Recycling Fees

#86 Tire Taxes

#87 Tolls (another form of taxation)

#88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)

#90 Utility Taxes

#91 Vehicle Registration Taxes

#92 Waste Management Taxes

#93 Water Rights Fees

#94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees

#95 Well Permit Fees

#96 Workers Compensation Taxes

#97 Zoning Permit Fees

homebody's picture

Off the grid and under the table might work for many.

rf80412's picture

They already have Guatemalans living in shipping containers for that.

daggerhashimoto's picture

and then there was bitcoin

RawPawg's picture

Just Humbly Thankful For How I Arrived At Today=I'm Good,Awoke

Paid My Dues,But Mostly Blessed

Hikikomori's picture

"46% said their debt is manageable, 56% said they were in over their head" - what is the 2% who say their debt is manageable AND they are in over their head up to?

World citizen's picture

What about 100% of U.S. workers are complete morons, totally incapable of calculating anything above 10 without taking off their shoes?

Give me a break, would you? Ignorance, laziness, incompetence, and lack of interest and curiosity is invasive in the U.S. culture-less world. Self defeating is the "cool" thing, with drugs, alcohol, and countless other self-inflicted issues to par.

Totally useless the attempt to demonize somebody else for any of the above. Losing is a choice, not a destiny.

homebody's picture

But but we need that vaction to Las Vegas - sitting at that slot, we might get rich.  

But but the vacation was all inclusive in Mexico - sure.

But but they said if we consolidate our debts we could borrow more.  

FUBO's picture

Imagine how bad it would have been if King Barry wasn't watching out for us for 8 years! <sarc>

aloha_snakbar's picture

Fuck it...pass the bottle and crank some Twelve Foot Ninja


We will laugh about this shit 100 years from now...

Zepper's picture

Everything is awesome! The stock market as at an all time high. The Commidities markets are rallying. Even super fake fiat money like bitcoin is hitting all time highs. EVERYTHING IS FUCKING AWESOME!


Look I support Trump but he knows as well as all of you(not speaking to the Chinese, Russians and middle easterners) know that this economy has been in the fucking dumps for the last 30 years in terms of mainstreet. And its getting worse, not better. All this fake fiat money being printed is being pumped right into realistate, equities, and commodities. There is literally nothing that is not in a bubble as we speak. And this bubble makes the bubble of 1929 look small in comparison.


The same fucks bringing you Bitcoin et al. are the same fucks that sold China to the world. Same cunts! Remember that. Its all going to crash eventually, when, who the fuck knows? the 65 trilllion dollar question.

homebody's picture

I bought the dip in the last crash, make a killing ever since and took out the profits.  It is all about working the game in your favor - know when to fold.  Invested in practicals, land, preps, - so when the shit hits the fan, I won't be at the bottom of the Ponzi.  

homebody's picture

All the down voters obviously are not self-sufficient and will get crushed.  Blame someone else or the system why not.  

Whiners not winners  

Looks like the looser just got out of bed and getting ready to start partying again.  Just after they troll a few ZH sites. 

Zepper's picture

I was not talking about you or most people that come to ZH because these people are probably the most informed and are playing their angle to make money and manage thier risk. I am talking about the other 99% of people who go to work(like a real fucking job, not sitting at some desk masterbating), pay their taxes(oh so many fucking taxes!!!!!!!!!! on every little fucking thing!!!!!), pay their bills and find out that at the end of the fucking day they are still short a few hundred bucks.

homebody's picture

Never really had a desk and always favored production - but if you want to make the coin, you may have to play better at their game than them.  May not be to your taste but it sure feels good to be out from under.  

rf80412's picture

Their mistake is working hard.

Own stuff and extract rents.  That's the only way to get rich.

Mena Arkansas's picture

How to Become a Millionaire.

First, get a million dollars.

~ Steve Martin


hooligan2009's picture

and the one common factor? they all have i-phones!!!

just coincidence tho, correlation is not causation

uhland62's picture

I wouldn't want an i-phone if you paid me. Spend my time texting, reading advertising SMSs and pay for receiving them? Or get more robocalls? Photograph my lunch? Not for me, put the i-phone where the sun don't shine. 

J J Pettigrew's picture

It is easy to see the divisions in this country now...

There are those who are long the stock market and cant believe how rich they are

VS those who dont have a dime in it and live paycheck to paycheck.

There are those who watch MSNBC...and there are those who watch FOX.

That's about it.


sistersoldier's picture

Paycheck to Payday. The check disappears mid-week. 

homebody's picture

And you can sure see the anger at the sucessful in some of the previous posts - down votes for any suggestion that the blame falls on themselves. 

Zorba&#039;s idea's picture

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to work we go, chasing all the Mo.'s with our nations stinking dough. O's economic magic continues to grow and grow :/

sistersoldier's picture

"I owe, I owe, off to work I go. I owe, I owe, I owe..... I owe!" 

XBroker1's picture

I never had a cell phone or rekated contract and I also don't buy new cars.  I'm debt and mortgage free. Coinicidence? I think not.

homebody's picture

Many will hate you for your achievement.  

QQQBall's picture

I have a cellphone. with a $25 unlimited call and texting plan from AT&T. Have NFLX which is like $9 and BritBox which is $7. What many fail to value is living below your means equals security. $25 for cellphone for my consulting profession is well worth it. Not sure a land line would be any cheaper, but certainly less convenient.