A scary 76% of American adults are now living 'paycheck to paycheck' with almost nothing saved up for emergencies, and even fewer Americans have the six months of income recommended to be saved in case of a major emergency, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The survey was done by Bankrate.com.
The figures don't surprise San Antonio money managers, like financial planner Wendy Kowalik, President of Predico Partners, LLC.
"What has become the trend for everyone now, if they get into an emergency situation, they turn to credit," she said.
They survey reports no increase in savings rates over the past three years, even as Americans have reported rising incomes and improved job security.
"It's a huge risk for Baby Boomers," she said. "You have people who are going to work longer because they don't have enough savings they can use for retirement. And when they get into a crunch they have to fall back on credit, so as interest rates rise, that credit becomes very expensive, and will make it very difficult for them to live even day to day, based on the bills that they have incurred."
She says the availability of easy credit, and the fact that we are an instant gratification society, has combined for some very unpleasant outcomes for many families.
The savings rate has plummeted since before the Great Recession. Kowalik says many people who lost their jobs had to eat up their savings, and other started their own business, which is a very expensive proposition.
Another problem, officials say, is continued low interest rates, which provide no incentive for saving. Most bank savings accounts and certificate of deposit pay one percent interest or less.
Kowalik says a huge problem looming from this lack of savings, is the fact that many Baby Boomers will be unable to participate in the retail market after they retire, due largely to a lack of savings. She points out that this was not a problem for people who retired, for example, in the 1960s through 1980s because a far greater percentage of workers then had defined benefit pension plans.
"It is going to get tougher and tougher for people to make ends meet, and that means more people dependant on the government," she said. "We are in a situation where we won't have the consumers."
Consumer spending is roughly 70% of the economy.
And Generation X and Millennials will face an even more serious problem. Because Baby Boomers will not be able to retire due to a lack of savings, that will mean fewer jobs and fewer promotions will be available for younger people, depressing their earnings in the prime earning years of their lives.