While the U.S. economy continues to improve and consumer sentiment remains above a baseline level for optimism, many consumers are still searching for fiscal relief. In fact, 40% of respondents in a recent Nielsen survey say they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.
But in today’s world, what does it actually mean to live paycheck-to-paycheck? In its most basic sense, it means having just enough money from each paycheck to cover all necessary expenses. The catch, however, is that no two sets of expenses are the same. Historically, the phrase has more commonly been associated with lower income brackets. That’s perhaps less so today, as it may be used to refer to broader circumstances beyond daily costs, like basic housing. According to Nielsen’s first-quarter global Consumer Confidence Index report, housing represented the largest share of monthly spending for American consumers (24%), followed by expenditures on food and beverages (18%) and communication services (11%).
In looking at the results from the recent poll, we can see just how far-reaching the term “living pay-check-to-paycheck” is right now. Living paycheck-to-paycheck isn’t only a lower-income dynamic. It’s actually reflected across income levels nationwide. While more than half of the respondents (55%) who reported living paycheck-to-paycheck were among consumers earning $50,000 or less each year, 24% said they earn between $100,000 and $150,000.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Saving, Spending and Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck in America.