Millions of Americans Teetering on Edge of Financial Ruin

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
By Paul Martin

Kurt Nimmo
February 5, 2014

A poll conducted by NBC News and Marist paints a bleak financial picture for millions of Americans. Nearly 20 percent, more than 40 million Americans, say they have a difficult time making ends meet.

The poll follows the results of a report released last year by the U.S. Census Bureau. It showed household income steadily declining since the Great Recession began in 2007. Median income in 2012 was $51,017 a year, down from $51,100 the year before. In 1999, median income was $56,080 when adjusted for inflation. The report also showed 46.5 million Americans mired in poverty.

Last January the Commerce Department reported personal income had fallen 3.6% that month, the largest decline in 20 years. Taxes and inflation made the decline even bigger. Disposable personal income fell by 4%. It was the largest loss in half a century.

According to the NBC News/Marist survey the tipping point is $50,000 a year. 30 percent of adults earning less than $50,000 per year describe their finances as weak while only 5 percent of those who earn more say the same. “Americans 45 to 59 years old, who may still be supporting their children while at the same time caring for parents, are more likely than other age groups to say their money situation is faltering. One in five members of this generation — 20 percent — says their household finances are weak.”

Debt is a factor. The poll revealed that nearly 10 percent, 22 million Americans, are trapped in debt. “Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year are four times more likely than those who make more to be overwhelmed by their level of debt. 16 percent of those with an annual salary less than $50,000 experience significant financial stress compared with only 4 percent who earn more.”

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