Around 60 percent of consumers in the United States report that they're living paycheck to paycheck, according to new research.
A report from Pymnts and LendingClub found that 59.8 percent of U.S. consumers said they were living paycheck to paycheck as of August, 2023, regardless of their income level.
76 percent of those making less than $50,000 annually reported living paycheck to paycheck, as well as 62 percent of those making between $50,000 to $100,000 each year. 45 percent of those earning more than $100,000 per year also said the same.
"Living paycheck to paycheck continues to be the predominant financial lifestyle in the United States, even as inflation has dropped," the report notes.
Economic concerns mount
19 percent of those living paycheck to paycheck reported struggling to pay their bills, whereas 41 percent said they do not have issues paying bills. However, the issue becomes particularly prominent during the holiday season, as over one-third of all consumers say December is a month where they experience financial distress.
While 78 percent of credit users believe they could accommodate an unexpected monthly payment of $500, 1 in 4 say it would cause significant financial stress. 65 percent of those struggling to pay bills would "not be able to cope with such an increase," compared to 42 percent of all paycheck-to-paycheck consumers who would be "unable to meet their debt obligations."
Those struggling often do not have savings to fall back on and turn to credit cards, even when they cannot afford to pay them off, as the report notes: "Even as cutting back on spending is often a first response when faced with financial stress, a significant portion of consumers across all financial lifestyles turn to credit products to help them cope with seasonal spikes in expenses."
While it is a popular method of temporarily off-setting debt, the report clarifies: "Using credit products to cover expenses in financially difficult times can negatively impact consumers’ financial standing, so consumers should only rely on credit as a financial management tool instead of support to help them stay afloat."