NewsMore Americans say they are living paycheck to paycheck this year than...

More Americans say they are living paycheck to paycheck this year than in 2023—here’s why

More Americans may be struggling to make ends meet. A majority, 65%, say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to CNBC and SurveyMonkey’s recent Your Money International Financial Security Survey, which polled 498 U.S. adults. That’s a slight increase from last year’s results, which found that 58% of Americans considered themselves to be living paycheck to paycheck.

While last year’s survey polled more than 4,000 U.S. adults, this year, CNBC took a worldwide look at personal finance. The 2024 survey polled 4,342 adults altogether and included 500 adults from Mexico, 503 adults from Australia and 482 adults from Singapore.

For Americans, the feeling of living paycheck to paycheck spans the gamut of salaries. Of those who said they do, 35% said they would need to make $50,000 per year to feel financially secure, 44% said they’d need to make $100,000 per year and 11% said they’d need to make $500,000 per year.

Here’s what’s putting the pressure on people’s wallets and what experts recommend doing to relieve some of that stress.

Inflation, lack of savings and credit card debt

Among those who consider themselves to be living paycheck to paycheck, financial stressors vary.

  • 69% cite inflation
  • 59% cite lack of savings
  • 28% cite rising interest rates
  • 33% cite credit card debt
  • 28% cite medical or health-care bills
  • 21% cite layoffs or loss of income
  • 15% cite student loans

Their worries are not surprising. Inflation has been rising in 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even if incrementally. In 2023, the average credit card interest rate hit a historic high of 22.8%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and individual credit card holders had an average debt of $6,501 each, according to Experian. Just under half, 47% of Americans have set aside money for emergencies, according to CNBC’s findings.

In terms of what matters most in finally achieving financial stability, 42% say it would take spending less money than they make, 33% prioritize having a well-paid and steady job and 11% say having their own business.

Start a savings account or try a balance transfer card

When it comes to alleviating that financial pressure, experts offer several pieces of advice. First, build an emergency savings fund.

“If you pay your card debt down to $0 and don’t have any emergency savings, the next unexpected expense, such as an emergency trip to the vet or a flat tire, will just have to go back on your credit card and land you right back in debt again,” Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, previously told CNBC Make It.

Try setting up automatic deductions from your paycheck so every time you get paid, a small portion goes into a savings account.

You can also try transferring your debt onto a balance transfer card, which offers a 0% interest rate for a period of up to 21 months.

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