In true Forrest Gump fashion, the economy and the finances of Americans could best be described as a box of chocolates right now. Between wages that are finally rising, low unemployment, muted inflation (the good news) and 76 million people, or 31 percent of American adults that say they are struggling financially or just getting by (the bad news), you really never know what you’re gonna get when you see a report on the state of the American economy.
And while this 31 percent, which comes from the Federal Reserve Bank’s latest survey on Americans’ economic well-being for 2015, may seem like a frighteningly large portion of people, as CNN Money reports, it is actually an improvement. Just two years ago, the Fed discovered that 38 percent of Americans were in weak financial shape. Even so, seven years after the Great Recession ended, many Americans are still trying to dig themselves out of what was left behind.
The survey also showed that 46 percent of respondents said they would not be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense or would have to borrow or sell something to do so. Perhaps more surprisingly is that, while lower income Americans said they would have the hardest time covering this expense, 38 percent of middle class Americans said they would have trouble and even 19 percent of people making over $100,000 a year said they couldn’t pay the bill right away.
In addition, 23 percent of respondents said they expect a raise in the coming year compared to 29 percent in 2014 and 38 percent said they expect to fund retirement by working and another 22 percent said retirement would be funded by their spouse continuing to work.
The report wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, as more adults said they were living comfortably or doing okay and over 50 percent said their home value increased over the past year.