Shock Report: Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck

No matter how much you earn, getting by is still a struggle for most people these days.

And to make matters worse, we are debating whether or not each other is a Nazi or a snowflake than fixing real problems. That statement might trigger people, but it is the truth.

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 job-hunting site polled over 2,000 hiring and human resource managers and more than 3,000 full-time employees between May and June.

Most financial experts recommend stashing at least a six-month cushion in an emergency fund to cover anything from a dental bill to a car repair — and more if you are the sole breadwinner in your family or in business for yourself.

While household income has grown over the past decade, it has failed to keep up with the increased cost-of-living over the same period.

Even those making over six figures said they struggle to make ends meet, the report said. Nearly 1 in 10 of those making $100,000 or more said they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, and 59 percent of those in that salary range said they were in the red.

The results:

  • 78 percent live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year.
  • 81 percent of women live paycheck to paycheck vs. 75 percent men.
  • Nine percent of workers making $100,000 or more live paycheck to paycheck.
  • More than 1 in 4 do not contribute to savings each month.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 say they are in debt; more than half think they always will be in debt.

“Living paycheck to paycheck is the new way of life for U.S. workers,” CareerBuilder spokesman Mike Erwin told CBS News. “It’s not just one salary range. It’s pretty much across the board, and it’s trending in the wrong direction. Jobs have come back, but we haven’t seen salaries rebound.”

Further, 59 percent of Americans making $100,000 or more say they are in debt, and 70 percent of those making between $50,000 and $99,000 are in debt, according to the survey.

“As an employer, your employees’ financial problems become your financial problems,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. “If workers are constantly thinking about their financial struggles, their quality of work can decrease, and it can take a hit on their morale and productivity.”

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,369 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over and 3,462 employees ages 18 and over between May 24 and June 16, 2017. There’s a 95 percent probability that the results have sampling errors of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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