U.S. Household Wealth Improving, But 46% Don't Have $400 in Emergency Cash

There is some good news in the Federal Reserve Bank’s latest survey focusing on the financial health of Americans.

A boost in home values of $498 billion helped fuel the wealth of Americans to a record of $88.1 trillion in the first quarter.
But 31 percent of adults, or 76 million people, say they are struggling to get by, the Fed survey found. And about 46 percent of adults say they don’t have enough saved to pay for an unexpected $400 expense, or would have borrow or sell something to cover the cost.
Here’s how the Fed puts it: “There is little question that, on the whole, the financial well-being of Americans seems to have improved relative to the prior year and relative to the year before that. However, the many pockets of consumers who display elevated levels of financial stress and who are at risk for financial disruption in the case of further economic hardships remain a concern.”
About one-third of those surveyed said their income changes month-to-month, primarily because of shifting work schedules. Some 45 percent say their expenses also vary each month. About 42 percent of Americans with these monthly shifts in income and expenses say they struggled to pay the household bills at least once in the past year.
Some 22 percent of survey respondents experienced a major, unexpected medical expense that they had to “pay out of pocket” last year, and 46 percent of those who say they had a major medical expense report they currently owe debt from that expense, the Fed states.
Overall, 69 percent of adults report that they are either “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” compared to 65 percent in 2014 and 62 percent in 2013, the Fed reports.
Here is the full Fed’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015

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