We all know sky-high inflation is making it hard for many households to get by. What you may not know is that this is a problem even for those at the northern end of the economic spectrum.
A new report from San Francisco’s LendingClub finds that 61% — nearly two-thirds — of consumers said they were living paycheck to paycheck as of April.
And an eye-popping 36% of people making $250,000 or more said they too are barely making ends meet.
“Earning a quarter of a million dollars a year is more than five times the national median and is clearly high income,” said Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer.
“The fact that a third of them are living paycheck to paycheck should surprise you. These high-income earners have an average FICO score of 758. They are creditworthy, but they have higher financial obligations and are more likely to leverage their capital to finance their lives.”
This is a cloud on the economic horizon because consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity.
The more households scraping to get by, the more risk we face that spending will be reduced, thus impacting the bottom line of businesses and hiring plans.
The trend also suggests many Americans will be running up debt and chewing into savings to survive, which will have consequences down the road as bills come due or retirement approaches.
If even people with relatively high incomes are on the ropes, the danger of a recession becomes even more pronounced.
My advice: Make a budget, understand your expenses relative to your income, live within your means as best you can.
That’s not always easy during an economic downturn.
But as the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire said, it’s important to cultivate your garden. Which is to say, look after your affairs.
And for the rich now finding themselves in the same financial boat as the rest of us, I cite the words of New York philosopher John McClane.
Welcome to the party, pal.