Middle Class Americans Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck Find Relief Through Bankruptcy
Earning a good salary, owning a home and having a retirement account – all these things used to be indicators that you were in good financial shape. But according to a new report, today’s middle-class Americans are far from comfortable. In fact, most are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
A recent study presented by the Brookings Institution claims that a whopping 24 million middle-class Americans are living a hand-to-mouth existence. Of the one-third of employed Americans who report spending all of their paycheck before the next arrives, a surprising 66 percent have a median income of at least $41,000 – the definition of middle class.
While the average American may have a retirement account, that doesn’t mean she has any liquid assets, or assets that are easily available when needed. And while owning a home is a major asset (if you have equity), it can also mean an unaffordable mortgage.
Tack on credit card debt, student loans and medical bills to your monthly expenses, and it’s no surprise that your paycheck isn’t stretching very far, no matter what wage you’re earning.
While you may be getting by for now, a paycheck-to-paycheck existence means you’re walking on thin financial ice. There’s a reason financial planners encourage consumers to save three to six months of living expenses. Without a cash cushion, just one unexpected expense – from an illness to a pay cut - could leave you reaching for your credit cards, resulting in growing debts that make the bills even more difficult to keep up with.
For Americans already stuck in the cycle of overwhelming debt and a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, bankruptcy can provide a ticket out – without having to deplete your 401k or run up credit card bills.
Bankruptcy was created to help struggling Americans break free from unmanageable debt, and today’s bankruptcy law is more powerful than ever. Contrary to bankruptcies of the past, most folks who file for bankruptcy these days don’t have to give up assets. In many cases, bankruptcy is the best strategy for protecting your money and property.
If you’re barely making ends meet and are sick and tired of the unpaid bills, sleepless nights and creditor harassment, consider speaking with a bankruptcy attorney about your options. Contact DebtStoppers today for your free one-on-one debt evaluation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.
Middle Class & Living Paycheck to Paycheck, by Tami Luhby, CNN Money