As inflation remains at a 40-year high and refuses to budge despite repeated interest rate hikes, many Americans are finding they’re falling further and further behind financially.
That’s because most of us haven’t seen pay raises that reflect soaring consumer prices.
A new survey from Bankrate.com finds that more than half of Americans — 55% — say their incomes are not keeping pace with rising household expenses.
Only a third of respondents say their pay has kept up with or exceeded the inflation rate.
“Inflation that has run at the highest levels in more than four decades has stripped buying power away from households of all walks of life,” Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, said in a statement.
“Even half of those receiving a pay raise, getting a promotion or taking on new responsibilities said that higher pay falls short of the increase in household expenses.”
This is particularly true for people with multi-year contracts that include modest annual pay raises. More often than not, those built-in salary bumps come nowhere close to current economic conditions.
Consumers received yet another wake-up call on Tuesday when the latest Consumer Price Index showed that inflation was running at an annual rate of 8.3% in August and rose slightly from the month before.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index plunged by nearly 1,300 points as Wall Street traders acknowledged the likelihood of aggressive rate hikes continuing into next year.
Bankrate’s survey found that 40% of respondents received raises in the past 12 months.
About 13% found better-paying jobs.
Roughly 8% got both a pay raise and a better-paying job. The remaining 39% of respondents got bupkis.
Don’t hesitate to speak with your manager about your deteriorating finances. Point out that this is happening because of circumstances beyond your control.
That’s not to say you’ll receive anything more than sympathy in response. Most managers’ hands are tied by corporate overlords fretting about the inflationary hit to their bottom line.
But it never hurts to ask.