Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Half of Consumers Surveyed Can't Come up With $2,000

Yes, there are homeless shelters and food stamps, but the reality of how many are living on the knife-edge financially is not captured in the usual (manipulated and massaged) government statistics.

The reality is better captured by this item from BusinessWeek's December 16 issue:

Almost half (46%) of 2,148 consumers surveyed recently said they weren't confident they could come up with $2,000 within a month in a crisis--from savings, family, friends, credit cards or other sources.
Even among those earning $100,000 to $149,000 a year. almost 25% doubted they could raise it, according to the survey conducted by research firm TNS with academics from Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College.

"We wanted to know if people could fix a broken car or furnace," says Harvard finance professor Peter Tufano, who adds that most studies he has seen measure "how much cash people have... not how much they can access."

The survey results surprised him. "The ability to cope with emergencies is much less strong than we might have thought."

This survey offers a staggering set of implications. Let's grant that we have no idea if the survey was scientific, but we can assume that the academics from Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College would not besmirch their reputations with wildly inaccurate or fatally unrigorous data collection.

Let's follow the idea that 25% of households earning $100,000+ can't lay their hands on a meager $2,000. First off, only about 20% of households earn above $100K. Most households make do on a sum closer to the national median of $46,000.

What does it mean when households not only don't have $2,000 in cash (savings), but they also lack the ability to put their hands on $2,000 from family, friends, or even credit cards?


  1. I believe that. Most people I know would be pressed to come up with $200 if not for ATMs.

  2. 2,000$ isnt much at all nor buy much these days , but in a working class family like mine it can take up to a year @ 30$/week to pony up that cash ,The nation is broke , people seem to be living the high life everywhere , but it all , and i mean all on G.D credit cards , man i am happy i do not have that lifestyle . I live within my means i put 50$x2kids per month in a Education savings account @5.67% VIR , i put 75$ a week in our savings account per week , and in only 2 years was able to put away over 8,000$, + i have an emergency checking account with 1000$ in case of , so 9000$ +the kids have approx 7,000$ , so i was able to save all tha money in about 3.5 years time . It just takes will , buy only things you need food , shelter, clothes , and once in a while when the kids act superb we buy them a little surprise . We always make them know of the importance of been responsible , and to not WASTE , but not showing them to be a scrooge or A-HOLES but just to live a fun ,exciting and responsible consumer freee lifestyle . It just takes will , and to give yourselve a good slap on the back of the head and wake yourself up , and say , man ive waste alot of my heard earned money on basically JUNK , one thing to stay away from is BARS and nightclubs in wich one night out can easily cost you 2ß300$ for 2 people , things ini wich IMHO parents with Children cannot affod whatever working wage they make ,

    ok ok my rant is over ,
    see ya guys later.

    Merry Christmas and happy and peaceful New Year to all , may it bring love and joy to you all


  3. So 46% of the people can't come up with $2K. This goes right along with our consumption based economy. It's been said many times that most people are 2 paychecks away from becoming homeless.

    As more and more people lose their jobs, many of these people will be tempted to turn to crime, just to support themselves and their families.

    Yesterday, the radio news reported that a man had robbed a Christmas tree lot of $70.00. He apologized for his behavior and reminded the tree lot worker that "times are tough".

    Never leave you home without a means to defend yourself.

  4. 6:38 said "Never leave you home without a means to defend yourself."

    Are you kidding me? That is the holy grail of the Democratic party!!!!!

  5. Never go to a christmas tree lot without packing heat, NEVER!!!!

    There should be an NRA booth at every lot during christmas handing out guns for your protection. For God's sake!

  6. Everyone should have 8 months living expenses in a savings acct. before they buy gold/silver or anything else. Any adult that doesn't ( incl. some of my friends and relatives) isn't very savvy. Workman's comp helps some folks when sickness hits and you get paid to recover; or some qualify for disability benefits. Unemployment pay is not enough for most to keep up with bills.

  7. Workman's comp doesn't cover being sick, not unless your job was at fault for you getting a cold, for instance, and you can prove it. Although that varies from state to state. Most people rely on 'sick days', if their work gives them to you, or just getting by. Most people do not have 8 months living expenses store up. are you kidding? That is probably upwards of 20,000 dollars (with a 1,000/mo rent) just laying around in savings in case something goes wrong. One doesnt have to try to be a rare metals dealer, but it doesnt hurt to diversify and have a little bit of the stuff around, if you want. But it is better to spend it on the things you really need now, or that might help you down the road when things are tight, including supplies and necessities.

  8. This site makes my head hurt. I'm torn between the bits of truth in these stories and the desire to dash into the kitchen and wrap my head in tinfoil and hide in the closet.
    So far, I'm just keeping away from the tree lots.

  9. People are indeed seeing rough times. Even to the point (I supose) of robbing at Xmas Tree Lots. They should start robbing at "Car lots" in return for the robbing the car dealers does for you!!!
    Those car dealers are singing a little different tune this day and time. One car dealer locally is offering a "free rifle" with each car purchased. That sounds a tad dangerous to the dealer if you ask me. Some sunnovabeech might come back and shoot him after the sales contract sinks in or someone explains to him what he signed. Nothing like the current recession to bring out the loons out there, But to rob a XMAS tree lot? I guess the Salvation Army bell ringers will have to start packing Glocks or Colts. Insanity reigns!!!!


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