Fewer Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck. But Is This True For Blacks?

October 8, 2013  |  

While a  new survey by CareerBuilder finds that fewer U.S. workers are dependent on their next paycheck to make ends meet, can the same be said for African Americans?

According to the study, 36 percent of workers said they always or usually live paycheck to paycheck, which is an improvement from 40 percent in 2012 and a peak of 46 percent in 2008 at the beginning of the Great Recession when layoffs were rampant.

The data was a mixed bag regarding savings and retirement. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder says, “The report shows 25 percent of workers do not set any funds aside for savings each month. This is a slight improvement from 27 percent in 2012. In terms of retirement saving, 65 percent of workers participate in a 401(k), IRA or comparable plan, down from 67 percent last year,” reports TheGrio.

While, the CareerBuilder survey did not identify respondents by race, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, author of Zero Debt, warns the middle class and low- to moderate-income households have been squeezed. That includes a broad swath of African-Americans.

Khalfani-Cox says she does not get the sense fewer African Americans are living paycheck to paycheck based on questions posted to her website, AskTheMoneyCoach.com.

“I can’t believe for a moment that they don’t feel cash strapped and living paycheck to paycheck,” she says.

According to Khalfani-Cox, we are becoming more of an hourglass economy.  The upper middle class and above  felt the recovery sooner. The true middle class are seeing rising costs for food and healthcare, wages however have not seen a change. Then you have those that are struggling so that, according to this weekend report from 60 Minutes, disability payments are a major source of income for some.

Also, debt levels continue to increase and student loan burdens are still part of the mix.

Many African Americans view homeownership and a college degree as important parts of the American dream. “The problem is you typically have to finance them,” Khalfani-Cox explains.

“It will take a while for the economic recovery to trickle down to average folks,” she says.

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