Americans Doing Better Says The U.S. Federal Reserve – Really?

Do you agree that you are “doing better” financially? In a WSJ article, titled “Americans Doing Better Financially, Except For Non-college Educated”, 70% of 6,643 respondents indicated that they were “living comfortably” or “doing okay”. Really?

How is it possible that 70% are okay or better when 44% of the survey participants responded that they couldn’t meet a $400 emergency medical or car expense without borrowing or selling something.  They clearly aren’t doing okay!

Furthermore, according to the article, the median out-of-pocket medical expense is about $1,000, and 24 million Americans currently have a medical debt as a result of an expense in the last year alone.  By how much would the 44% grow if they were asked about the $1,000 expense, as opposed to the $400, which seems somewhat arbitrary.

In addition, roughly 28% said that they hadn’t saved anything for retirement. In many cases, these are current workers that have no access to a pension plan. We also know that the median defined contribution balance is <$10,000.

Can we please have surveys conducted and results presented that actually ask appropriate questions related to the current economic status of the American worker? Someone living paycheck to paycheck is not okay economically.  Americans that have no pension or retirement savings are not okay, especially if they are age 40 or older.

The social and economic consequences of our collective failure to provide quality jobs, living wages, and adequate retirement benefits will be devastating. I often repeat myself, but I will not apologize.  We have a crisis unfolding in our country, and neither kicking the can down the road nor burying our heads in the sand is an appropriate response at this time.


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