Suze Orman speaks during AOL’s BUILD Speaker Series at AOL Studios In New York.
Jenny Anderson | WireImage | Getty Images
An unexpected bill is never convenient.
But there are even more reasons now that an unforeseen event — such as a car repair or medical expense — could put Americans on unstable financial footing.
Blame record high inflation, which has soared to the highest levels in 40 years and pushed up prices for everything, including grocery store staples like butter, lettuce and dairy products.
Heading into 2023, recession risks also loom. The question is whether a downturn would be mild or prolonged, while leading tech employers like Amazon and Google have already started slashing jobs.
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Meanwhile, the federal government has reached the debt ceiling. It’s now up to lawmakers to find a solution so the U.S. government can continue to pay its bills.
“We’re having a financial pandemic now, so to speak,” personal finance expert Suze Orman told CNBC.com.
“It’s a … more dangerous scenario now than it was during the pandemic,” Orman said of the current financial risks Americans face.
Many Americans were able to set aside more money than usual during the Covid-19 pandemic, as government aid meant additional unemployment benefits for jobless Americans for longer, while millions of individuals and families received stimulus checks.
Those federal funds are now dwindling, Orman said, as bills — including rents that have, in some cases, tripled and interest rates on mortgages that have climbed higher than they were before the pandemic — start to come due.
The environment may be the wake-up call many Americans need, she said.
“You have to have an emergency savings account, whether you’re in recession or not in a recession,” Orman said.
Americans living paycheck to paycheck
There’s never been a better time to have emergency cash set aside.
Yet putting away a meaningful sum of money continues to be a challenge for many Americans.
A new survey finds 74% of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck, according to SecureSave, a financial technology company that aims to help workers put aside emergency savings through their employers.
As inflation has soared, more than half of respondents — 54% — have decreased their savings in the past year, SecureSave’s November online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found.
About 67% of workers cannot afford to pay for an emergency $400 expense.
Among the things that Americans regret most about their personal finances is …….