Slightly fewer Americans report living paycheck to paycheck

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Image of fanned out $100 bills. According to the LendingClub on Monday, more high-end earners said they are living paycheck to paycheck as compared to 2021. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 29 (UPI) — Slightly fewer U.S. residents say they are living paycheck to paycheck, but more high earners described themselves in that boat, according to a new report by LendingClub, released Monday.

The LendingClub’s Reality Check: Paycheck-to-Paycheck research series revealed that 59% of its respondents said in July they were living paycheck to paycheck, compared to 61% in June. That is still higher than the 54% who said they were in the same position this time in 2021.

Among high-income earners, those making $150,000 to $200,000, 48% said in July they were living paycheck to paycheck, up 7 percentage points from last month and 13 points more than May 2022.

LendingClub said data by its researchers and PYMNTS found that over the last 90 days, 56% of its respondents said they need more than $400 for emergency expenses. The organization respondents put the average emergency expense at $1,400.

“The need to update the $400 emergency expense benchmark is evident in this report,” Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer, said in a statement. “Inflation in the last year, let alone the last decade, has made it much more difficult for consumers to save while staying on top of their expenses.

“Not only are consumers saving less every month, but they are likely to encounter an emergency expense, if not multiple, putting them at a greater risk for increased financial hardship. This fact paves a financially difficult road ahead for consumers.”

The research found that over the last 90 days 46% of consumers were forced to pay for at least one unexpected expense, with some tackling multiple emergencies.

“Common emergency expenses include everything from car repairs to health-related and housing and relocation expenses,” LendingClub said. “At 30%, car repairs are the most common unexpected expense, and consumers paid an average of $1,008.

“The next-most common expenses are health-related, with 21% of consumers facing at least one health-related emergency expense and spending an average of $1,361. Housing- and relocation-related expenses had the highest average cost at $2,042, and 19% of consumers faced this type of expense.”

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